My Journey: From Side Hustle To Full-Time Business
I’m Anna Runyan! I help women find career fulfillment and today I am going to share my journey of how I went from side hustle to full-time profitable business. In March 2010 I started a blog and dreamed of a better career and a better life for myself. I took that little blog to became one of Forbes 35 Most Influential Sites. My podcast has been listed as Yahoo Finance’s 10 Best Podcasts For Women and I was Nominated as San Diego Magazine’s Woman of the Year
Now all those are nice but here’s what is most important and what really matters: I made my dream career and dream life happen. I created my future. First, I had to figure out WHAT My ideal career was. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew I wanted to be a happy working mama.
Now I get to do what I love. I now have less stress, more fulfillment, I’m living my potential and my purpose. I don’t have to dread Mondays. I don’t have to do work I hate. I get to make an impact and support my family doing what I love.
I worked on my side hustle while working my day job until I could replace my income…then I went part-time at my day job as my side hustle grew…
By the time I left my day job in 2014, my “side hustle” brought in 6-figures.
But when I first started, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Flashback to 2010

My life wasn’t always happy and my career hasn’t always been good. I worked myself hard and had a lot of stress and overwhelmed in my corporate consulting job. I dreaded Mondays. After the 2008 recession my exciting job turned into a miserable job as there were layoffs, decreased budgets and a lot more stress doing 4 people’s jobs all by myself.
I was stressed and overwhelmed. I was barely making ends meet with my husband. We had over $80,000 in debt. I was overworked. I had a lot of health & personal life challenges. We were facing infertility and I was having multiple miscarriages. I had no time. I had a 9-5 job and I was getting my MBA at night and I was also trying to change careers because I hated my job so I was job searching. But, no one was hiring during that recession. But inside I had this dream to have more freedom and meaning in my career and life and so I wanted to do something different.
My family also thought I was crazy when they heard I wanted to change careers. When they heard I wanted to do a career online, they literally said, “But, what if the internet breaks!” Do you also have family and friends who aren’t supportive? You have to continually put your blinders on and stay focused on your vision. I was right there so I totally get it.
I just wanted to be a happy working mama someday. That’s all I wanted in the world. Just to be happy and be a mom and to have a fun job that I loved where I could help and impact others. So I started a side hustle from home.
So back in 2010 I was stressed and miserable at work. I was missing experiences and family.

Then, I started a blog.

I started this little blog called Classycareergirl even though I had no time at all. I was missing out on life but I did everything I could to grow a side hustle from home.
By 2012 I was starting to gain some confidence because that little blog that I started in 2010 was starting to gain a little bit of blog money. But definitely not enough money to quit and I did not have a profitable business. I was starting to gain some traction with my website traffic and starting to get some speaking events offers. I was getting confidence and clarity and I was getting featured in magazines.  I started to realize what I really enjoyed doing. I started to do more teaching and training at my job. I finally started to identify the direction I wanted to go.

But I was still stuck….

In 2013, I still really hated my work but I needed my paycheck to pay off our cars, our mortgage and our furniture we bought on credit. It was crazy. But, I knew I had more potential and more purpose in my life than sit in a cubicle all day crunching numbers and being yelled at by bosses and clients. I just couldn’t find the time and we were drowning in debt. I wanted the status of working at a big fancy consulting firm but inside I was miserable. My husband and I had tried for 2 years to have a baby and we weren’t successful. I kept thinking about how my work life was not going to be good for when I was a mom someday. I literally worked from sun up to sun down. I wanted to be a mom. I felt like there was no way out. Sometimes I would just go to my car and cry during my lunch break. I didn’t know what I was good at. I didn’t know what my dream job even was. My stress doing other people’s jobs was affecting my health.

My rock bottom.

My breakthrough and epiphany came at my rock bottom. In a hospital at midnight after a wedding in Seattle. I had just found out I was pregnant and was literally the happiest I had ever been. Until I was no longer pregnant. I had another miscarriage and when the doctor told me, I said the most irrational thing ever. “I hate my job and I need to quit.”
Why the heck was I talking about work when I just lost a baby. It was the breakthrough I needed to realize this path is wrong and I needed a change. For a lot of you, you are having a wake up call right now. I want you to realize something.
I created a NEW opportunity and a new plan for my life because I knew there had to be some reason and some purpose to my unexpected and hard life events. I knew I needed to make more impact so I just focused on helping one person everyday.  I discovered I love teaching, can you tell?  So I decided to do more of that. I went on a journey to discover more of myself and what career fulfillment was for me.
I literally had a point of no return on that hospital bed. I wasn’t going back to my old way of life and staying stuck. Although I was grieving for my lost baby, I made a decision to make a change and keep moving forward. It felt so good to finally be on the right path of my dreams and actually taking action towards my goals!
There was that point on that hospital bed that I said I am changing my career and life. This job is sucking the life out of me. I need to make a change. That was the point when I made the commitment.

My life turned around after I made a commitment.

I got really serious about what my vision was and what my ideal career was. I created a 90-day plan to make it happen. That next year was amazing, we had our first miracle daughter, Mila, in 2014. Because I got clear and focused on what my ideal career was and committed to it, my business took off and I was able to quit my job 6 weeks after she was born after maternity leave. I stopped working on tasks that weren’t getting results. I started using 15 minute chunks in my day to work on my dream. I started focusing on helping just one person everyday. I started gaining momentum and opportunities coming to me and my income quickly increased.
I was quoted in People Stylewatch magazine three times and I even published a book and spoke to over 50 organizations and women’s groups ALL WHILE WORKING MY DAY JOB! I actually built up my business with the day job so that three weeks after I quit, I was flown with my husband and daughter to Brazil for my first international speaking event. I never even dreamed that would be a reality but it is. So don’t for a second think the same thing can’t happen to you!
But just remember, this Brazil speaking trip was 4 years into my journey. It doesn’t happen overnight but it does require you to start.
By the time I left my day job, I had PR attention, I was on the local San Diego news all the time, my website was ranked by Forbes as one of the top 35 most influential websites for your career. It was exciting because my dreams were coming true and I had built a profitable business. I realized this was actually going to happen. I created a 90-day implementation plan so that in 90 days we could meet our goals and my husband could quit. We did it! My husband also quit his job to work in the business with me a few months later.

I made my profitable business dreams happen

In 2015, I had my first six figure year and we traveled to Australia while working and realized that this was what I wanted. I made my dreams happen. I just wanted to be that happy, working mama. My dream was so simple and that’s me today. We fortunately had another daughter, Sienna, in 2018. So I have two daughters. I love having the freedom and flexibility to hang out with them to go on field trips. I love walking them to school and hanging out with them. I love going on trip with my family but I also have work that I absolutely love. I get to help women launch their dream careers and businesses. I help women find career fulfillment and that makes me so happy that I get to help impact other women.
I now.. Make a great living doing what I LOVE!, Spend time with family making an impact and it all started with first identifying the ideal career that I was born to do, creating a 90-day implementation plan and focusing on serving others.  I know how to do all this with limited time and that is why I am excited that you are on this website.  Your benefit is this: when it comes to making big dreams happen in a very short amount of time (while juggling babies, full time jobs, growing businesses and business school) I know my stuff. One of my strengths is breaking down what you need to do and systematizing it to reduce your stress and overwhelm. You don’t have to do everything, just focus on the most important items that are truly going to move you forward to making your dream career or business a reality.
Since I identified my ideal career and implemented a 90-day planning system:
  • I’ve had more opportunities come to me.
  • I have more freedom, flexibility and happiness.
  • I’ve increased my income.
  • I have less stress and I’m no longer overwhelmed.
  • I do work with ease working in my strengths.
Imagine knowing the tasks you need to do each day and being able to help others doing work you love. Imagine having a career that feels natural and was a career you were born to do. Most importantly, I can be there for my kids as needed (or homeschool in case a pandemic happens). Anyone else’s life completely changed because of the pandemic? I’m so glad that I’ve had the freedom and flexibility. I feel healthier and have less stress. I have meaning in my work and purpose.
I am not sacrificing my happiness, health or family for my dreams.
Today my husband and I run our business with an incredible team. I get to spend time with my kids and work on my passions too. We can travel and see family when we want  to. I get to do what I love. I am more confident and more successful because I know my passions and strengths and am working in this every single day.

What about you?

Now you may not have had a rock bottom moment like I did in a hospital. You also may not even hate your job. But, you may feel like you are never going to reach your full potential. You may be worried that you are no longer challenged in your current role and you are starting to feel stuck. You may be realizing that you aren’t making enough to support your family currently and you have no idea what steps to take next. You may have just been furloughed or laid off. Maybe your business isn’t working as well as you had hoped right now.
Identifying your ideal career or ideal business is the first step because you don’t want to get stuck and have to repeat the career transition cycle again and we don’t have time to waste. It’s not worth it being unhappy. Identifying your ideal career will help you become MORE successful in the long run. If you love what you do, you’ll find greater success.
Want to learn my 3-step framework for how to plan, design and launch your dream career or business? Join my masterclass today.

Hi, I'm Anna!

I’ll help you create a career strategy and plan so you can finally have a job or business you love that supports the life you really want.

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