Quitters Who Made Millions

Letter of resignation
The stories are out there, and they are real. It’s the great American success story… where people have given up their 9-5s to take on the world of owning their own business.

These are just a few of the tales of people who have quit their jobs to pursue something they loved and made it big. We’re talking really big. Million-dollar big.

One of the fastest growing sports in the world is snowboarding. The concept did not come from a renowned athlete or Canadian Mountie, although its inventor did come up with it from the chilly state of Vermont. Jake Burton Carpenter, who had a successful job in finance, quit his job to develop the snowboard, and he did it in a barn! It all began in 1977 with his first handcrafted snowboard. Today, Burton Snowboards sell in 33 countries and he is worth millions.

Karsten Solheim loved golf. He had a great job at General Electric as an engineer, but golf was his passion. But he was frustrated with the putters that were available on the market and so he started designing his own putter in his garage during his free time. By 1959, he had his own putter called Ping, which he named because of the sound it made when it hit the ball. Other golfers saw how well the putter worked, and pretty soon he was making the Ping putter for others. By 1967, the demand for his putters was so high, he left GE and started the Ping Company. Today, the company continues to be run by his family and produces more than putters, such as drivers, fairway wood, irons and more.

Diamonds aren’t just a girl’s best friend. Ask Mark C. Vadon. While shopping for an engagement ring for his girlfriend, Vadon, who was then a management consultant for Bain & Co., was frustrated and went to the Internet. He found a site that allowed him to choose what he wanted by carat weight, cut, clarity, color and other qualities. Everyone told him no one would buy diamonds on the Internet. That was 1998. Vadon quit his job and gathered investors to buy the Internet diamond seller… it’s called Blue Nile and today it is the biggest seller of diamonds online and it said to compete with Tiffany & Co. and other jewelry retailers.

It’s hard to believe that Eva Mendes once sold hot dogs at a mall. She was studying marketing at Cal State University when the acting bug bit into her and she dropped everything. After studying with acting coach Ivana Chubbock, Mendes got her first acting gig in “Children of the Corn V,” landed other minor roles in films such as “A Night at the Roxbury,” “Mortal Kombt” and “Exit Wounds” and then got her first big break when she starred opposite Denzel Washington in the highly-acclaimed “Training Day.” Once a gal who made minimum wage working in a mall, she now commands $15 million a picture.

Dreams do come true, especially if you can sleep on them! Vincent Porpiglia and David Lekach both had pretty good jobs, but they were not sleeping well at night. On one of those nights of tossing and turning, Porpiglia came up with the idea of a natural liquid that could help people sleep. He called on his colleague Lekach and Dream Water was born. The two quit their jobs and started selling the produce in drug stores around New York City. Today, Dream Water is sold in 15,000 stores nationwide (including Wal-Mart and Walgreens) and Porpiglia and Lekach sleep better!

Being an entrepreneur and making millions doesn’t have to be a dream. Wake up and make your move!


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