As far back as he could remember, Robert McGuinness always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He watched the uncles on his mom’s side come to this country with absolutely nothing and build incredibly successful businesses.
But his dreams didn’t always turn out as planned. McGuinness started two businesses, and both failed. He was broke, living with his family, and shouldering a lot of debt. McGuinness had to pick himself back up, so he took a technology sales role in New York City. This job was the last thing he imagined himself doing, especially since the commute was three hours roundtrip.
“Every day, I showed up to work something deep inside of me was off,” McGuinness said. “My throat would close, my chest would tighten, and deep down, I knew there was more and I knew I didn’t belong here. I knew I was meant for something bigger beyond the vehicle of just my salary and benefits plan.”
Even though McGuinness found a corporate job with good pay and benefits, the call to entrepreneurship never left him. During his daily three-hour round trip commute, he’d ask himself, “How could this be done?” McGuinness finally had a stable job with a salary and everything else. But it wasn’t enough. There still felt like there was more or something missing.
“What I uncovered is that the call for more never goes away,” McGuinness said. “However, I had no idea how I was going to leave my salary and benefits plan behind.”
Most entrepreneurs take two to three years to break even in their business. McGuinness knew that he had far too many responsibilities to comfortably walk away from his stable job and go into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship.
He also knew that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to know how to leave his career for his calling. As many as 60% of the American workforce feel disengaged at their job. People who grew up wanting to be pilots, movie stars, musicians, and artists ended up as accountants, clerks, administrative assistants, and customer service representatives.
“From that point on, I was on a mission to uncover what it would take for anyone in any industry to get out of their career and into their calling without sacrificing their family or financial needs,” said McGuinness. “To make this happen, I had to make this happen for myself first.”
Now, McGuinness runs Soul Venturer, a company that helps people leave their career for their calling. Here’s the methodology he used to pursue this dreams:
1. Finding Your Path
Before you start your business, you need to do some self-introspection. You must dig deep and understand the “why” behind your motivation.
“What I uncovered was a common theme around why my first two businesses were unsuccessful and why I felt lost in my career,” said McGuinness. “What was at the root, was an identity shift, a total realization that I had been doing everything for the wrong reasons.”
“I was doing them for who I thought I was! What I had to give up who I thought I was for who I remembered myself to be. I had to return to myself.”
“I felt like I was not enough of what I could be. I covered up this shame as if I was wearing a mask. I remembered who I really was — a deep-hearted, mystical man who wants to help others achieve their potential. Once I became the walking, talking, living, breathing billboard of that truth, everything in my life changed.”
2. Having a Vision
Every great entrepreneur wants to change the world somehow. The world has seen an explosion of mission-driven companies, all of whom prioritize sustainable processes and giving back to communities.
For example, Allbirds is a shoe company that prides itself on using sustainable materials and designing environmentally friendly footwear. Many of their collaborations with other brands such as JUST helped raise money for charity.
Your mission is what will motivate you to take on new challenges every day. While most people dread going to their nine-to-five jobs, nobody dreads an opportunity to make the world a better place.
“What gets me out of bed is to build the world’s premier player for helping our clients navigate their journey into their calling!” McGuinness said. “I remember what it felt like every day to have to do this on my own, and it wasn’t easy. This mission comes from my heart and to all those that know they were meant for something beyond their career.”
3. Knowing You’re Not Alone
“Many perceive entrepreneurship as a solo journey,” said McGuinness. “I was a lone wolf for the longest time, and I can share from first-hand experience that making this jump can feel a lot smoother when you have the right support group in your corner.”
Doing anything alone, especially starting a company that could fail, is incredibly daunting. Many people fear to leave their careers to start a business because they worry about not having a stable income.
However, most entrepreneurs have an extensive support network behind them — business partners, friends, investors, support groups, and more.
“I have had many mentors,” said McGuinness. “Tony Robbins, Dr. Donny Epstein, Dr. Joe Vitale, Dr. Rev. Matthew Fox, and many other top experts helped me uncover what the term ‘calling’ meant. They led me closest to my most significant mentor, which has been my soul, which is constantly reminding me of who I truly am and what my path is that I am here to choose.”
4. Use the Internet to Your Advantage
The internet and other technology changed the business world in a way that nobody ever saw coming. It revolutionized the world as a whole and created a new generation of corporate titans. Netflix killed Blockbuster, Audible spelled the death of Borders, and Facebook crushed Myspace.
All of the world’s most valuable companies take advantage of the internet and technology used by billions of customers. The FAANG quintet — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google — dominated their competitors through rapid innovation and widespread consumer adoption.
“The rise of the internet and social media has never made it easier to have anyone monetize something they are good at,” said McGuinness. “Simultaneously, we have the rise of robotics and automation, changing the economic landscape.”
The internet allows anyone to follow their dreams. You can learn just about any skill you want from online classes. Jobs like Instagram influencers, social media managers, Uber drivers, and digital marketers didn’t exist ten years ago. We can expect more kinds of these jobs to open up as the world evolves.
“We are living in a time where the needs of our soul are at our fingertips and more and more individuals are realizing that there is not just one way any more in which we can pay our bills and meet our financial needs,” said McGuinness. “Forty-four million Americans already have some form of a side hustle, and the gig economy is here. The rise of the internet and social media have actually never made it easier for someone to leave their career for their calling.”
5. Fuse Entrepreneurship With Spirituality
“Here at Soul Venturer, we are bridging and fusing entrepreneurship and spirituality together,” said McGuinness. “I believe that entrepreneurship is the highest form of spirituality if done correctly.”
The best way to fuse these two aspects together is to follow your calling. Those who follow their calling see their job as an extension of themselves. It fulfills a purpose in their lives.
Following your calling means that you’re interested in more than just profits. It means you’re connected to something bigger than yourself — your family, community, country, or even the rest of the world. It means examining how you live, find meaning, and connect to the grander picture.
“More and more people are waking up to realizing they are here for something bigger. Bigger than just their salary, or benefits package, this inquiry for more in their life is what we at Soul Venturer call ‘the calling’.”
In this sense, spirituality played a crucial role in McGuinness’s journey. Spirituality was what helped him find his calling and is what guides others to find theirs. His father’s side of the family has a long line of religious and spiritual leaders, many of which guided his influence.
Patrick W. Dunne is a freelance writer who covers business, technology, and productivity. He has bylines in Listverse, Psych Central, Digital Privacy News, The Good Men Project, and others. You can follow him on LinkedIn or read his blog.