Business Essentials
From 9-5 to Thriving Small Business Owner: My Journey to Empowering Entrepreneurs

From 9-5 to Thriving Small Business Owner: My Journey to Empowering Entrepreneurs


At the age of 25, I walked into my boss’s office and told her I quit. At the time, I worked at a startup incubator where we helped entrepreneurs launch education technology companies and schools. It was fun and I enjoyed it, but I hated the 9-5 lifestyle and wanted to work remotely while writing my first novel. 

Shocked, my boss asked me why I’d suddenly made this decision and I told her: I want to be a consultant and I would like for you to be my first client. I explained to her that I no longer wanted to come into the office and that everything I was doing I could do remotely at a higher level.

My boss was at a loss for words and the two of us just stared at one another for a while until she said: Ok, I’ll think about it and discuss your proposal with the executive team. 

The next day, I was informed that my request had been granted and that I would be expected to work 10-15 hours per week. My retainer would be nearly twice the rate of my salary if you took into account my reduced hourly workload.

On the outside, my move was bold, but internally I was shocked my plan had actually worked; I knew nothing about consulting, remote work, or being a business owner for that matter. But I had a vision and nothing was going to stop me from pursuing it. So I went to HR, submitted my paper work, took out all my savings from my 401K, and embarked on a new journey of starting my own consulting practice. 

For a while things went well—until I made a series of decisions that would launch me into a world of chaos and insanity. For one, I didn’t know how to manage my time or money. I couldn’t focus well on projects, spent way too much time watching YouTube videos, and started blowing money on eating out, Ubers, and every single entrepreneurship course that popped up on my social media feed. For some reason, I became obsessed with the idea of making $10K per month and began to write endless Apple notes detailing my master plan to get to that mythical monthly income. It seemed like so much money to me back then, but coming from making $3500 per month, could you blame me? 

Soon all my savings were gone. I spent it on courses and over 100 custom backpacks I’d sourced from Kenya for a fashion company I decided to hedge my bets on. The company failed. Not because it wasn’t a good idea, but because I had shiny object syndrome and found myself chasing every single business opportunity that was brought to my attention. I was constantly jumping from one idea to another—from e-commerce to LinkedIn lead generation, to drop-shipping, and planning events. I over leveraged myself, became overwhelmed, and crashed spectacularly. 

By 26, I was completely burned out. All my attempts at entrepreneurship had failed and I was left with the one opportunity I’d started with: consulting. But I had begun to neglect my responsibilities and soon, my contract was terminated. Now I was broke…and depressed.

Things got so bad, I decided to live with my mother until I could get my life together. I was humiliated. Soon I went back on the job market and I found a new gig that was remote. I was doing business strategy for another education startup and it paid well, but I absolutely hated the 9-5 lifestyle. At least I had money coming in, so it was better than nothing. 

But I was still depressed and I wanted nothing more than to become a $10K per month entrepreneur. 

I was fixated, totally consumed by the desire. And I began, once again, spending ALL of my money on expensive courses to learn business so I could achieve that goal. 

No matter what I learned and tried to apply, I kept coming back to the one thing that had worked for me in the past: consulting. I had a ton of marketable skills that I had taught myself or learned on the job over the years: graphic design, branding, video production, web development, business strategy, fundraising, grant writing, startup development and more. I’d worked with Stanford d. School on various projects and had helped dozens of entrepreneurs start innovative schools and launch education technology businesses. I realized I could package that skillset and sell it—if I had the right system. 

Once things clicked in my mind, I realized I wanted to help other professionals learn how to leverage their skills in the marketplace and launch consulting businesses. The education industry and consulting industries weren’t so different. In fact there was overlap. Both had experts passionate about solving problems and both relied on high quality branding, offers, and sales to come to market.

The only problem was, I wasn’t sure how I would sell my services. So I started out working for entrepreneurs for free, learning the ins and outs of their businesses and helping them bring things together. I developed my own frameworks and strategies and began to teach dozens of entrepreneurs. Soon, after many more struggles than there’s space to write about,  I launched the first formal iteration of my consulting practice. Within six weeks, I reached my original goal. It wasn’t easy. I spent tens of thousands of dollars to learn the methods and systems necessary to launch and grow my consulting business, but I wouldn’t change the journey for anything. 

Now I’m on a mission to help solopreneurs and small businesse owners like me achieve far more than my original $10K per month dream. I want to help them achieve scale and create a reality where they are making the income and impact that brings them total fulfillment. 

So what’s your story? 

Are you a solopreneur, small business owner, professional, expert, consultant,  coach, or someone with a service-based skill that could help others? 

If so, then I’d like to connect with you and help you achieve your goals systematically. I’m not interested in selling you a course or a DIY program. I’m more interested in helping you install the right strategies, structures, and systems in your business to scale your income and impact.

If you actually want to learn how to go from $0 to $100K, from $100K to $250K, and from $250K to $500K, I want to help you avoid the pitfalls and struggles of building a business alone, so that you can build smarter and grow faster. 

I learned the hard way, so you won’t have to. 

If you made it this far, I want to give you some value, something you can use to grow your business. It’s an opportunity to work with me and my team. Use the link below to schedule time a free 3-Month Marketing Plan. Use the code ‘Build Smarter, Grow Faster” and you’ll see the full discount of $297 applied to your checkout.

Looking forward to seeing how things come together for you. 

Let’s grow together. 

Christian Smutherman 

Founder & CEO, Growth Loop

About The Author

Growth Loop Editorial Team

Editorial Team
Growth Loop