Accidental Entrepreneur: From Aerospace Engineer to Blogger
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As many of you know, becoming a full time blogger isn’t something that most people plan on becoming. We typically go to school for other things like English or Business or Theater, and professional blogging usually sneaks up on us in some way or another.
I might be biased since I’ve been a full time blogger for 15 months now, but I think it takes a lot of courage to embrace a career in something completely and totally different from the path you planned. So, to celebrate the unique stories and avenues that bring full time bloggers to their current profession, we’re doing a series on accidental entrepreneurs.
From Aerospace Engineer To Blogger
I’ve known Harry for quite a long time, probably years by this point. I can’t remember when we initially connected, but it was definitely through his personal finance blog, YourPFPro. Since then, I’ve watched Harry start a number of different websites and businesses and have been able to participate in the process a bit by voting on his logos and designs.
Harry graduated with his BS in Aerospace Engineering in 2009 from UC San Diego, incidentally the same year I graduated from college too so we’re close to the same age (and we’re both married to medical school students!)
Harry started saving money right from the offset, maxing out all of his retirement accounts and investing. He said, “I realized early on that I wasn’t super passionate about engineering but it paid well, and I didn’t hate it by any stretch. But, I started looking for opportunities to make extra money that aligned with my passions.”
I think that mindset is what sets entrepreneurs apart from the pack. Most people would be perfectly happy with only somewhat liking their job as long as it paid well, but people who harbor an entrepreneurial spirit just can’t sit still. We’re always seeking to actually enjoy our work, even if it pays less than the job we set out to do to begin with. So, I’m not surprised that Harry tried out several different paths before finding the one that worked best for him.
Side Hustling to Make the Switch
Harry decided to start side hustling, as a way to get out of engineering. He said, “I got into real estate, travel hacking, and coaching volleyball for money – basically all things that I would have almost done for free but I was also getting paid for. These are the best side hustles in my opinion. I knew I wasn’t going to do engineering for the rest of my life but I was still patient trying to figure things out.”
I think his point about patience is really important. You don’t want to jump into self-employment until you’re ready and have a proven track record of income. Harry’s experience starting his first personal finance blog in 2011 led him to learn about online marketing and passive income, but as Harry said, that website never actually took off.
Instead, he stumbled upon the world of ride sharing because he actually enjoyed being an Uber and Lyft driver himself. He realized there was an unfilled market, and coming from personal finance blogging “where there were tens of thousands of blogs” he looked into ride sharing blogs and couldn’t even find one. So, he did what any hustler would do. He said, “Even though I was working full time, I really busted my ass on The Ride Share Guy working 20-30 hours a week on top of my day job.” Soon, he was turning down TV appearances because he couldn’t leave his job as an engineer, and when that started happening, he knew it was time to take the leap.
It’s Not a Big Leap When You’re Prepared
Because Harry worked so hard to build multiple revenue streams in real estate and his websites, he said taking the leap to self employment “wasn’t all that big of a risk; it was kind of a no brainer.”
Today, Harry is enjoying making his own money and setting his own hours, and what’s most important about his story is that it shows other aspiring online entrepreneurs that sometimes you have to try a number of different things before you hit the right blog or business idea.
His ride share website was exactly that. Because of that site, Harry is now a contributor at Forbes as their resident expert about ride sharing and he’s been a guest on amazing media outlets including Good Morning America. Best of all, he was able to move on on from aerospace engineering, something he only liked a little bit, to pursue a career he actually loves.
What do you do for a living? Do you enjoy your ‘day job’ just a little, or is there something else you’d really like to pursue? What would it take for you to make the leap into self employment?
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