Jane Stoller

How a Life-Biz Organizer Turned her Childhood Passion into a Business

Entrepreneurship

How to find the right career… This is one of the most challenging questions and one that is probably on all of our minds at a few points in our lives.

I am here to tell you that there is no “right” way to find a career; everyone has a different path, and it is not linear. 

To date, I have two published books, a mantra, a successful online course, and have a healthy Instagram account. I also teach an undergraduate management course at a Canadian University, and I offer the same advice to my students that I offer here. Though from the outside, it might seem like I have a wonderful business, getting here was not at all easy. After many struggles and setbacks, I took a leap and made my passion for organizing and helping others a reality. Before this, I spent over a decade in a completely different career incorporate construction and insurance. 

Time to get real. Really real. Even before I joined the corporate world, I had the mindset of a die-hard businesswoman. Throughout high school, university, my MBA, and then, finally, within my corporate career, I was always working hard and constantly chasing my larger goal, which I thought was to be a VP or CEO in the corporate world. I don’t think chasing this goal was the wrong thing to do, and I won’t rule out going back to it someday. But I do think it was wrong to think this was the only logical path that would make me successful—or happy. 

In my 20s, I was sure becoming a VP or CEO at a large company was the only way to truly be respected by my friends, family, peers, and society. Keep in mind; this was the early 2000’s. Lifestyle blogs, social networks, and tech start-ups existed but weren’t the rage they’ve become. Back then, being an entrepreneur in the lifestyle field wasn’t looked on as fondly as it is today.  

I gained invaluable experience from my corporate career in insurance and construction, especially around working with various cultures, managing people, and a consulting role where I was tasked with making unprofitable businesses profitable. But I always thought that I was meant to help people get organized in their life in business, as this is my true passion.  

At six years old, I started my organizing passion with my pet cats, lining them up by size and color. In grade school, kids would make fun of me when I not only had a perfectly organized desk, but I would help the teachers organize theirs. In high school, I was proud to organize my school’s ever first and cheerleading team (which still exists to this day), and in college, I would tell people I would meet them at the club on Saturday night but would secretly be re-organizing my closet instead. 

Yes, I am an organizing geek, and I am proud to admit it. I encourage everyone reading this to go back to even to your younger self and think about what you loved doing then. See if that is something that can be made into a career, can help someone, or if it can be worked into your current career. I was constantly organizing, even when I was managing construction sites. 

Turning your passion or side-hustle into a full-time career is not instant or easy. There will be bumps in the road, and you will constantly need to adjust your plans. A recent client I had in the fitness industry was working in corporate and didn’t treat her fitness clients as a business. She often downplayed the importance of what she could offer people. I still sometimes do this too. She took my Business Booster course, made tweaks to her business offerings, and she now runs her own 8-week course that is consistently sold out. She also doubled her income and can really focus on helping change people’s lives.

Remember, you will be terrified to market yourself, I still am today too. When I marketed my first book, asking people to buy a book, I wrote about something I love doing seemed crazy and unfair. Yet over time, my passion had transformed from a mere hobby into a well-honed and researched skill. Without really realizing it, I’d become an organizing expert. 

Surround yourself with a tribe of mentors and coaches to help you refine your passion and message to the world. I sometimes wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her not to care so much what people thought about her. But even though I don’t have a time machine, I can pass this message along to others who have the same fears and doubts and hopefully make a difference in their lives.

Also, thankfully, in my 30s, I’m a lot more confident than I was in my 20s. This confidence is formed by my many corporate successes and, of course, my occasional failures, including the failure of that first organizing business. 

So take it from me: Whether your passion is a side hustle, a full-time business, an idea for a business, or even a hobby, never discounts its value or think it isn’t worthwhile. 

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