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Today, we are joined by Lauren Elsasser Smith, who started her entrepreneurial journey by starting a food truck business while taking classes in college. After graduating, she landed her first full-time role with Birchbox and managed to keep running her food truck business on nights weekends, and vacation days.

Lauren ended up quitting Birchbox to focus full-time on her business. Around the same time, her husband, Jared, was starting his residency in Lynchburg, Virginia. So Lauren moved, sold the business, and invested the proceeds and starting her next venture in wedding photography. She was able to scale that business and eventually got recruited by Burger King Corporate to take another full-time role. She worked her way up the ranks to become the marketing manager of Burger King Northeast US.

Lauren began traveling for work and was struggling to find work life balance. She became pregnant, which shifted her priorities. She and her husband sat down to put together a detailed 6 month plan on how long they could survive without her salary. Lauren eventually worked up the courage to tell her boss she was quitting without a plan of what was next.

They cut down on their expenses and gave Lauren the space to figure out what was next. Around 6 months later, Lauren was offered the opportunity to follow her passion of teaching and is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Management and Marketing at her alma mater, Susquehanna University. While Lauren’s resume speaks for itself, you can tell when speaking with her how her family, relationships, and work-life balance matter above all else.

Fast forward to today and Lauren has found an incredible balance of spending time with her family and having a career she is passionate about. As most of you would guess, she is already onto the next idea of rehabbing an A-frame cabin to eventually turn into a micro wedding/Airbnb venture.

Check out the conversation as we dive into the following:

  • How she was able to run side businesses in addition to a full-time job
  • Why it was so hard to leave your coworkers when quitting
  • How she mapped out a 6 month plan to be able to quit
  • How she prioritized her family and relationships over her career
  • How the extra time and space from quitting led to her to her next entrepreneurial venture

Listen to Lauren share her story and get inspired with her amazing advice to people thinking about following a similar path. Check out the full conversation on YouTube or Spotify by clicking the links below.

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Know someone who should be on Why I Quit? We’re looking for all types of stories and people to feature at the top of the show. To nominate yourself or someone else, email dave@foundersapproach.com and tell us your name, where you’re from and what you want to talk about.