This woman’s side gig is now making her $1 million a year

Need inspiration to get that side hustle going? Look no further than the story of Luisa Zhou, who quickly grew her coaching business to $1 million in just seven months—all while working a full-time job.

Luisa recently spoke with Forbes to share the story of how she went from being a normal 25-year-old working a full-time job to being a successful entrepreneur. As a child of Chinese immigrants, success was always a focus in her family. Luisa was expected to do well in school and get a great job after college. And she did—after attending Princeton with a major in electrical engineering and a minor in robotics, Luisa snagged positions as an International Space Station engineer for Boeing and a digital advertising manager, and was the co-founder of a mobile payments startup.

Although her 9-to-5 career paid well, she felt stagnant and unfulfilled: “Not even just my creative side. It was my everything. Most of us have so many skills, but most jobs just require a certain subset of them. All my outlets, all my potential was not completely being used.”

Suddenly, some family health setbacks (her mother was diagnosed with cancer and her father needed an unexpected life-saving surgery) provided some important clarity. Unable to get time off to be with her sick family members, Luisa had a moment of realization about autonomy and freedom in her work life: “I decided I had to do this for my family. If I decide to ever have children in the future, I need to do this for them.”

After attending an event for online entrepreneurs, she founded her own company, which offered digital advertising consulting. As that business grew, Luisa realized she could harness her own experience in the digital sphere to help others live out their dreams of owning online businesses, so she began coaching—and finally feeling fulfilled as a professional. On her website, she explains: “For the first time since I’d started working, I felt passionate and fulfilled by my work—something I never experienced in my steady job.”

Not long after, Luisa’s side business started making her some serious bank. Within four months, she’d netted $106K. She left her full-time job to focus on her business and, before closing out her first year, had made her first $1M.

More than 44 million people in the United States have a side job—but not all of them are as successful as Luisa. How did she grow her side job into a career she truly enjoyed? Lots of hard work, motivation and business savvy. And her passion is helping other people get to where she is.

As a “business coach for aspiring entrepreneurs,” Luisa focuses on giving people the confidence and tools they need to build their dream businesses. She’s helped over 500 students through her free online training and private coaching. Luisa’s clients rave about the support they’ve received as they take the plunge intro entrepreneurship and launch their own freedom-filled work lives. Check out to learn more about Luisa, her story and her work.

Coaching, whether it’s helping people with their professional or personal goals, is a rapidly growing profession. According to the 2016 Global Coaching Study done by the International Coach Federation, there are 53,300 professional coaches worldwide, producing around $2.36 billion in annual revenue.

If you’re interested in starting a coaching side hustle of your own, coaching could be a lucrative and flexible work-from-home business for you.

About the Author

Carrie Murphy


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