Annie Lawless: From Passionless To A $300M Company

If you’re feeling like you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, Annie Lawless might be the inspiration you need: she’s a young entrepreneur who changed her career path when she decided to leave law school and set up her juicing company, Suja.

With the mission of helping people get healthier, she’s slowly grown her business into a $300-million venture.

Here’s what we can all learn from Annie Lawless:

You have to trust your gut
Annie is a big advocate for marching to the beat of her own drum. When she realized that the law wasn’t her passion, she fell into a slump until she could pinpoint what she was passionate about. When she realized that she could help other people through her business, she quit law school and started her company, Suja, which is now marketed in over 10,000 retail outlets. As she has said in a recent interview, “I would tell anybody who is unhappy in their career or personal life with whatever it may be, do not hesitate or feel bad about changing directions and getting away from circumstances that do not inspire, motivate, and energize you. Life is short and you deserve to be happy, so do whatever it takes to get there! Trust me, it will all work out in the end”

The best ideas help people
It’s invaluable advice: if you want your product to sell, solve someone else’s problem. And Annie was familiar with health problems: growing up she had eczema, allergies and breathing problems. “My preschool removed a mulberry tree because I couldn’t even go outside. I also had really bad asthma,” she said at an independently-organised TED event.

She thought that these problems would all be things that she would live with forever until a doctor diagnosed her with Celiac’s disease. Her gluten-free diet, which was rich in vitamins that would help heal her body, eventually lead to her passion for juicing. Within two weeks of the new diet, her skin had completely cleared up. Annie’s desire to help make people re-think their diets lead to the creation of Suja; as she says, “There is such a direct correlation to what you put in your body, and how you look and feel.”

People won’t always “get it” right away 
Annie was 14 when she got her first juicer, and soon became fanatical about the benefits juicing was having on her body. But not everyone shared her enthusiasm. When she asked her parents for a cold-pressed juicer (with a cool pricetag of $3000) she says that her parents thought she was crazy. “I got really obsessed with it—it was totally weird, and people didn’t understand what I was doing.” She said. But it’s a testament to greatness—the best ideas are often not well-received at first. That’s why you’ve got to trust your vision without worrying about outside noise!