Five accidental business-success stories
Sometimes all it takes is a good idea and some luck. These folks had both. (The Internet helped.)
Tue Mar 8 2011
Jess Massa and Becky Wiegand
How it happened: Massa and Wiegand had an epiphany in August 2009 while commiserating about their nonexistent love lives. They came up with a relationship theory that Massa coined the Gaggle. Young, urban millennial women often don't have a boyfriend exactly, but rather several guys, or a gaggle, who fulfill their emotional needs in different ways: the ego-boosting Gchat pal who builds up your self-esteem; the work husband who gets you through the day; and that supportive ex-boyfriend with whom you share a history. The idea clicked with their friends, and the duo was inspired to leverage their contacts to turn their theories about the post-dating world into a multi-pronged success: Wiegand, who worked as an executive assistant to a VP at New Line Cinema, pitched the idea to her boss, and now a Gaggle film is in development at the studio. Through networking, the team also landed a recommendation to a literary agency, for which they're now working on a book proposal. Eager to expand the brand, they are taking their company, J&R Creative Media, to as many platforms as possible, including a blog, wtfisupwithmylovelife.com; a YouTube series (channel: WTFLoveLife); and merchandise, including WTF?! T-shirts and stickers.
Their advice: If you're going to turn your idea into a full-time job, don't forget what you learned in your old office, even if you hated it. Massa owes her writing skills, self-marketing and event-planning chops to her PR experience. Wiegand found discipline at her admin gig. "I learned to work really hard and to do every project 100 percent, even if it wasn't something I was super excited about," says Wiegand. "I also made a lot of friends who are now a vital part of our network for J&R and WTF?!"