How to Ditch the Corporate World and Rock your Own” by Sibyl White is must read for  anyone who needs a little nudge to leave the corporate world and start a business. A non-traditional business that is.

The book contains online and offline resources to support people make the transition from employee to business owner. But the real guts of the book are not the resources listed, but the interviews Ms. White conducted with the owners of niche businesses.

The businesses profiled in this book are all a little on the quirky side. Some might even say odd. Most of the business owners started their business based on passion rather than a business plan. They are proof that there are all kinds of ways to make a living and all kinds of ways to start a business.

Each business owner discusses how they got their start, their challenges and their successes. Everyone provides their favorite inspirational quotes, books and resources that encouraged them along the way. Quite a few of the business owners started their business when they were in a career crossroad or life transitions such as laid off from their job or newly divorced. Very few went to business school, they just jumped in.

Some of the businesses have been featured on Oprah, CNN or Good Morning America. But  none are household names like the ones profiled in a recent blog post about successful niche businesses, like Netflix.

Many of the business owners profiled were bootstrapped businesses. Really bootstrapped. I hate it when people say they started as a bootstrapped business because they couldn’t get a loan from a bank, yet they raised  $500,000 in seed money from family and friends.

The type of bootstrapped venture I am talking about is

– no loan from a bank

-no seed money from friends or family

-no cushy savings to fall back on

-no experience in running a business

-being laid off from your day job after 9/11 just as your business you started on the side is getting started.

And to make matters worse you have have friends and family who say “you’re crazy for thinking you can make a living doing that!”

Those are the circumstances in which Mannequin Madness got started and yes, we are one of the businesses profiled in the book.

I was so inspired reading the stories of the all the business owners in the book. I wish this a book like this had been available when I was thinking about starting my business.


Our company was profiled in the book,