How to start your own business in 2023, from 4 entrepreneurs who took the leap

4 entrepreneurs

Jacob Zinkula

  • Millions of Americans have started their own businesses in recent years.
  • Insider previously spoke with four of them and learned how they made this major life change.
  • They shared their stories, as well as the advice they have for aspiring entrepreneurs.

As the New Year approaches, many people are taking stock of their jobs and making career goals for the future. Some may decide to join the millions of US workers who have started businesses of their own in recent years. 

Americans filed over five million new business applications in 2021, the most since 2005. As of June, 16.8 million US workers were self-employed, accounting for over 10% of the workforce — the highest share since 2008.

Experts have pointed to several potential explanations for the spike in self-employment. As millions of people lost their jobs during the beginning of the pandemic, some Americans in need of work decided to start their own businesses. Others have wagered it is their best shot at getting ahead financially as their inflation-adjusted earnings declined.

If a recession comes next year, even more Americans could turn to self-employment. It’s historically ticked up during economic downturns as layoffs, for instance, force people to find a different way to provide for themselves and their families.

Insider previously spoke with four Americans who started their own businesses over the last few years. They shared their stories, as well as the advice they have for others hoping to follow in their footsteps. 

Meet a millennial who didn’t get a raise, so she quit her job to start a business in the same industry

Adison Landon

Adison Landon

Adison Landon, a 31-year-old from Fort Collins, Colorado, first thought about starting her own business in October of 2021.

She was in her third year working as a service technician for a local aquarium store, where she installed and maintained fish tanks for homes and businesses. And she wasn’t happy with the pay.

Landon decided to try for a Hail Mary: She asked for a raise to $27 an hour and no weekend shifts. When her employer couldn’t meet her demands, she put in her two weeks’ notice and decided to launch a competing business of her own. 

She purchased a van, which holds a 65-gallon water tank and a pump for mixing saltwater on the go, and took roughly half the clients she’d been servicing with her former employer. In its first month, the business generated roughly $3,600 in sales.

Read more:

Meet a 38-year-old who quit a 6-figure job to start her own business and hopes to retire by age 55

Ellen Lichtenstein 3

Ellen Lichtenstein

In March of 2020, 38-year-old Ellen Lichtenstein was feeling “burnt out” in her six-figure content marketing job at a software technology provider,

On a whim, she decided, “You know what, I’m done. I’m out of here.”

She took a leave of absence — thinking that might help — but never returned. Today, she has two businesses, one full-time opportunity, is working 12-hour days, is making more money — and said she has never been happier.

Plus, she said she thinks she can retire by age 55.

Lichtenstein attributed a lot of her success to the 15 years of connections she’s built across different industries over her career working in television, a grocery store, a call center, and communications.

Read more:

Meet a 70-year-old former pastor who started a business just 2 weeks after retiring

Joe Mlaker 2

Joe Mlaker

On a Sunday in May, 70-year-old pastor Joe Mlaker presided over his last service. After nearly 40 years, he was retiring and moving to Florida with his wife. 

But just two weeks later, he decided to start an interior painting business. 

He began taking on work in July and generated more than $7,000 in revenues and nearly $3,000 in profit through the month of September.

While Mlaker, a self-described “Type A personality,” initially started the business because he was restless and looking for “something to do,” he said it’s become a more important source of supplemental income for him in recent months as the stock market has fallen. 

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Meet a veteran who quit her job to start her own business because she knew she could do it better her own way

Antisha Walley

Antisha Walley

The longer Antisha Walley, 39, worked in corporate human resources roles, the more she found herself disagreeing with the decisions of her superiors. 

In January of 2020, the same month COVID-19 first arrived in the US, the Air Force veteran decided she could do the job better herself — launching her own human resources consultancy business.

In 2020, she had one client and brought in $3,000 in sales. But by 2021, she’d quit her full-time job, which paid $80,000, to dedicate all her efforts to the business.

It’s paid off. She forecasted she’ll reach over $100,000 in sales this year — roughly $70,000 of which she said she expects to pocket as income.

For Walley — whose career has intersected with the military, meteorology, banking, construction, and ultimately, human resources — starting her own business was in some ways 20 years in the making.

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