From Healthcare Professional to Entrepreneur: The Journey of Making A Drastic Career Change

By Marina Kotzé

The topic of career choices has always intrigued me… How do people end up doing what they are doing and then doing that one thing for the rest of their lives? And, out of thousands of possible career choices, how do you choose only ONE? On top of that, as a mere teenager, one is expected to decide what to go and study straight after completing high school. Or if the option of a tertiary education is not available, it is expected from that young person to immediately go and find a job. The issue of “work” is compelling, yet an undeniable part of life since the creation of Man.

I guess the issue of “work” was always about the following two questions for me – questions that have almost driven me to the four corners of the world in search of some answers:

  1. What is the purpose of life?
  2. What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?

Well, as we know, it is our backgrounds in our home, school, social and personal environments that all play a significant role in us making future choices. Many of us make career choices based on what we experienced in these childhood environments. Many of us also make career choices based on what our parents did to earn their bread and butter, or on what is expected from us. As mentioned earlier, it is expected from many of us to complete our basic education, receive a tertiary education and then to enter the formal open labor market. We have to work to earn a monthly salary, buy a house, marry and have children, make certain debts, say yes and amen to your boss, and go once a year on a family vacation to “recharge the batteries”.

This pattern repeats itself over for a few decades, then retirement is the next step – which is the one and only opportunity to do the things and visit the places there were not time and resources for before. The only problem: To be able to retire comfortably, a person’s pension fund has to be pretty huge. For many, that is not the case, and their dreams of traveling the world and experiencing things they longed for their whole lives, will never become a reality. And also, due to them doing and sticking to one job only, they have a limited skill set and therefore are not able to re-enter the workforce to earn an additional income.

This brings me to the memory of my dad who taught my brothers and me as children that we should learn how to sell because if we can sell, we can earn an income for ourselves, be our own bosses and support ourselves financially. On the other hand, our mother was working extremely hard as a nurse and was very traditional in her thinking – it was important to her to know that her children will need to have a formal education, be employable, and be in a stable job – and stay there for the rest of their lives.

At first, I thought that the way my mother envisioned my life to be, was the “good and responsible” way of working all the days of my life. But unfortunately for her, she had a daughter with a big imagination and a strong spirit yearning for freedom and independence.

Initially, I thought of becoming a healthcare professional and it then became my dream to become an occupational therapist. My dream was to help people regain certain life functions through the process of rehabilitation. I wanted to be noble and courageous in my career choice… However, I realized quite soon into my career that there was actually so much more I wanted to accomplish with my life, places I wanted to see, experiences to be gained, and things to achieve. One of these “things” was to become financially free and independent.

The only problem was the know-how of achieving my financial dreams… For many years I was searching to find answers. Eventually, through a set of circumstances, I accepted the opportunity to enter the direct sales industry. I received excellent sales training for one-on-one sales and I realized I was able to make money for myself in this way. I worked extremely hard and became increasingly frustrated with the fact that I was earning an income based on the amount of time I spent and clients I saw. I started thinking that there HAD to be ways to earn money without exchanging time for money. My searching continued…

Some years later I re-entered my profession as an occupational therapist. For the past seven years, this journey has taught me what exactly it is I wanted from life – and that is to be a successful serial-entrepreneur and become financially free and independent. Here is a summary of the rest of my conclusions, so far:

  1. Be very specific and clear about what you want to achieve with your career as an entrepreneur.
  2. Realise that you cannot become successful on your own – you need the right kind of help from the right kind of people.
  3. Decide that you want to live life outside of your comfort zone, as that is where success lies.
  4. Know that making changes will be scary but be sure to put on your big boy or girl pants, stare fear straight into the eye and start making your moves.
  5. Work daily on your mindset – that is, the way you think about challenges.
  6. Write down the blueprint for your life and read it to yourself every day.
  7. Associate only with like-minded, high-level thinking people.
  8. Take daily action to achieve your goals and make your vision a reality. You have to take the first step!
  9. You have to be willing to do what most other people are not willing to do, in order to become successful. In other words, you have to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
  10. Don’t feel guilty in working towards making a drastic career change – you owe it to yourself and the world to become the best version of yourself and to change your financial future.



  1.  Because if you have money, you have options.
  2.  If you have money, you can help yourself.
  3.  And after you have helped yourself, you then can start helping others and start making a difference in the world.

Remember, it is never too late to start making the necessary changes to your life to achieve the vision that is set in front of you. I often remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in one day and that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step:

Have an attitude of humility and gratefulness, as there is always so much to be grateful for and, in return, you will maintain a healthy perspective! To be humble will help you to be coachable and learn from other successful leaders and entrepreneurs. Invest in high-quality coaching programmes – my husband and I will receive top-level formal business coaching in a few months from now.

We have started our first online marketing business and I am involved with two additional online businesses. In the meantime, we are aiming towards saving two years’ salaries each (advice we received from one of our coaches), before we will take the next step of resigning our day jobs and become full-time entrepreneurs.

It is important to take the sound advice from successful people who have walked the walk, and not just talking it. Receive the necessary support from network connections and build your relational capital. Remember that your network is your net-worth!

My husband and I are extremely excited about our journey towards financial freedom and independence.
No one said it will be easy, but it will most certainly be worth it!