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Bike repair shop in Toronto's Kensington Market in 2003. (Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail)
Bike repair shop in Toronto's Kensington Market in 2003. (Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail)

Start: Mark Evans

Financial services career to bike maker? Why not? Add to ...

There are a variety of excellent reasons to become an entrepreneur - the ability to be your own boss, the lifestyle freedom and flexibility, and the opportunity to eat what you kill rather than work for the man.

Another compelling reason is to pursue your passions as opposed to doing something that simply generates a paycheque every two weeks. While money is obviously important, the opportunity to make a living doing something that makes it easy to wake up in the morning is invaluable.

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I ran into someone recently at a local restaurant who has a solid career in the financial services industry. He mentioned that after five years with the company, he is looking for a change. When I asked what he wanted to do, he started talking with a lot of excitement about building and fixing bicycles.

His passion, which started when he raced bicycles competitively while growing up, was palpable. Once the subject of bicycles was broached, he bubbled with enthusiasm about how much fun it was to transform an old beater into something shiny and a joy to ride.

As someone who took the entrepreneurial leap 18 months ago, I heartily suggested he seriously explore the idea of a new career fixing and building bikes. To me, it is a no-brainer because the bicycle-lover also has a CPA, so he could easily supplement his entrepreneurial adventure by taking on contract or project work.

It was easy to see that the idea has lots of appeal, particularly because his wife makes a good living in the health-care sector. But the reality is making the leap from a nine-to-five job with a paycheque and benefits to an entrepreneur involves risk - something for which everyone has a different kind of appetite.

Right now may not be the perfect time for our bicycle enthusiast to become an entrepreneur but it strikes me that it is a matter of when, not if. It can take a lot of courage to pull the trigger but having a passion for something can make the leap a lot easier and more exciting.

Special to the Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting , a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers 'stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.

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