Work and Money
This ‘Accidental’ Entrepreneur Made Seven Figures
Sometimes, diving headfirst into a business adventure is the best way to kickstart a new chapter in your life. Ellen Yin, founder and podcast host of Cubicle to CEO, became an “accidental entrepreneur” at age 23 when she quit her corporate marketing job without a backup plan. Since then, she‘s made over seven figures in lifetime revenue in just three years. This achievement is especially momentous to her as a woman and a first-generation Asian-American.
“I'm the CEO and currently run operations and head our growth department,” Yin tells CircleAround. “My favorite part of my role is the relationships I get to build with our brand partners, podcast guests, and students/community at large. Networking is my superpower!”
We caught up with Yin to learn more about how she came to be the entrepreneur she is today.
CA: Why do you refer to yourself as an “accidental entrepreneur”?
EY: When I left my corporate job, my intention was never to start my own business. Ironically, it was a coworker at the company I had just left who became my first client when he reached out and asked if I could help launch and grow the Instagram channel for his family's business. It was only a $300 project, but it gave me the proof-of-concept I needed to have the “aha” realization that I could monetize my existing skills into a service and go find bigger client accounts instead of continuing to apply for jobs.
CA: How has your company grown since you started?
EY: These days, our company is primarily focused on helping other service providers and coaches grow their businesses through our digital courses and Cubicle to CEO Podcast. Through our 12-month marketing-focused mentorship program, we are committed to helping 500 women make their first $10,000 month by landing clients without a large following or posting every day.
A current long-term project we're focused on is gradually transitioning our business model into more of a digital media company rather than e-learning only. My dream is to create a platform that provides female entrepreneurs of all backgrounds equitable access to mentorship, community, social capital, and education.
CA: What’s a professional skill you think is underrated?
EY: I've always loved storytelling. From a very young age, I used to enter writing contests, pitch myself for interview opportunities, and I even originally went to school for journalism. There is something so powerful in being exposed to other people's stories, because it shows us what is possible and inspires us to believe that we are capable, too. I think that's why I was drawn to marketing. In its simplest form, marketing is simply telling a customer a story of where they are and where they want to be.
This love for stories, and telling other people's stories specifically, is what led me to launch my podcast. Women are traditionally underrepresented in media and business, so I wanted to create my own media platform to highlight their voices, unique experiences, and the important work they are doing to make our world a better place.
CA: What advice can you give other women interested in starting their own business?
EY: Start before you're ready. If you're not embarrassed by your first attempt at something, you waited too long to start. Everything will feel hard at the beginning because it's new, but that doesn't mean you're not capable. Stop fearing failure and attaching your self-worth to outcomes. Fail forward and fail fast, because every single "failure" is a valuable opportunity to GAIN wisdom that will help you make better decisions. I see everything as an opportunity to collect data — good or bad, it's not personal!