The American Dream — attend a good college, get a good-paying job in Corporate America, get married, have kids, and buy a house in suburbia. Move up the corporate ladder.
That good-paying corporate job may afford you some luxuries, but many workers find themselves unsatisfied after years on the job. They may be miserable but stick it out hoping things will change, but they don’t. Many are afraid to start over and try something new — especially if they’ve been in the same field their whole life.
One of two things can happen:
- You get fed up one day and quit your job – ready to try something new.
- Your company downsizes, and you are left without a job.
Many workers have difficulty finding a job in their field due to the sluggish economy and the trend for jobs to move overseas. They’re forced to look outside their industry. This might be the push they need to jumpstart their new career.
Discover Your Passion
First, reevaluate your life and discover your passion. Start by making a list of everything you love to do — a hobby or an activity where you lose track of the time – no matter how silly. Then, take that passion and turn it into a career opportunity.
Let’s say you have a love for animals. There are plenty of careers involving animals: a cat sitting or dog walking business, animal groomer, etc. Next, do your research. Is your area already saturated with dog walkers or animal groomers?
So, how do you take that passion and translate it into a business? Having a passion is not enough. You need to identify a problem or a need and then find a solution.
Larry Reilly, founder of Pet Taxi, did just that.
Reilly, a native New Yorker, is an animal lover and dog owner. He was frustrated with the restrictions the NYC public transportation system placed on pets. NYC subways and buses only allow licensed guide dogs, and most NYC taxis won’t stop for dogs – especially injured ones.
According to the Department of Health, there are over 95,000 licensed dogs in NYC. Plus, the majority of Manhattan dog owners don’t have a car. According to Reilly, “Before Pet Taxi, there wasn’t any service out there to transport an injured animal.”
Reilly identified an important need and left his advertising job to start his full-time pet taxi business. He started with a single, yellow minivan, which is designed to look like an old-fashioned NYC Checker cab.
Pet Taxi transports dogs, cats, and exotic animals to and from airports, kennels, groomers, and veterinarians. Equipped with stretchers and ramps, they can handle emergencies too – like carrying a lab that was having a stroke down six flights of stairs.
Turn Your Passion Into Profit
Reilly doesn’t do a lot of advertising. He has a website and some You Tube videos, and the distinctive logo on his taxi seen driving all over Manhattan is advertising in itself. It wasn’t long before the New York Times, the Daily News, and other publications gave him accolades. New York Magazine selected Pet Taxi as a “Best of New York” winner for 2000.
With a true love for animals and superior customer service (the promise to pick up your pet within 20 minutes), Reilly’s credibility grew and so did the demand for his services.
Pet Taxi expanded to a four-car fleet, and Reilly added a licensed veterinary technician to his team of drivers to help deal with the emergencies. Reilly’s services expanded into the pet shipping and relocation business (including import permits, vaccinations, quarantines, etc.)
Continue Identifying Needs to Grow Your Business
If you are a New Yorker, you’ve probably heard of the Hampton Jitney (a bus that takes Manhattanites out to the Hamptons during the summer). Reilly was insightful enough to realize that dog-loving New Yorkers would rather bring their beloved animals to the Hamptons with them rather than putting them in a kennel for the weekend. But, dogs are not allowed on the Long Island Railroad or the Hampton Jitney so he invented the Hampton Petney.
The Hampton Petney runs in conjunction with the Hampton Jitney They’ll even pick up your dog at home. To keep the pooches happy on the ride out to their beach house, the Petney provides spring water and gourmet biscuits for them.
When you know what you love and translate that passion into a business, you’re likely to succeed because you are “working at what you love.” First, you have to do your research, identify a need, and propose a solution. Then, provide superior customer service and expand as new needs arise. Larry Reilly did that, and Pet Taxi is still thriving today.