How to Start a Vegan Business: Building a Dream

On May 31, 2012, I left my cushy, corporate job to start my own business, and it sure was cushy. I worked from home three days a week, spending only two days each week commuting to the office. Every four years I received a six-week paid sabbatical to do whatever I liked plus annual vacation time. Health insurance was affordable. The people were nice, many my friends. I received an annual bonus, not to mention a nice paycheck twice a month. Those were the days — of discontent.

For many years I dreamed of doing my own thing. I had some ideas but nothing concrete in mind. I just knew I wanted to make a living doing work that was enjoyable and rewarding. This dream would not die. It only grew stronger over the years. Yet, I wrestled with it until finally I decided to give it some life. What you resist, will persist.

My old desk and name plate. Always spreading the word.

The day I resigned was the hardest day. I spent eight hours with butterflies in my belly. I finally got up the nerve to speak with my manager at 5:10pm – right as he prepared to leave for the day. I have great timing. He’s a good guy and he’d done a lot for me over the past year, such as allowing me to work from home. But that freedom is what pushed me to quit. I loved it and knew I wanted it every day. That was the middle of April. I had over six weeks to adjust to my new reality before the dreaded last day. I thought it would be very emotional. I had worked with some of these people for over 13 years. It turns out that I adjusted quite well over the last six weeks. I was bursting with excitement. Barely a tear slid down my face that day.

But I had been preparing for this moment for over 10 years. I took a “How to Start Your Own Business” course. I saved money. I cut back on expenses. No more cable TV. No more gym membership. I ate at home more often. The universe also helped. My car was totaled while it was parked on the street and I was on vacation. I decided not to replace it and my expenses decreased some more. I stopped buying new clothes and started to buy only what I needed. Then, of course, there was the mental preparation which is the most challenging. All of these changes allowed me to quit. My goals for starting my own business are twofold:

  1. Do work I love. (Hint: I love being vegan!)
  2. Change the world for the better. Speak up for animals.

That’s it. You can help me by taking this quick survey. It will take you about 3 minutes.

This is the first post in a series on how to start a vegan business. Subscribe below to follow my progress.