From Corporate Job To E-commerce Success

Starting a business and achieving financial freedom is a dream for many, but few know the exact steps to make it happen. Tori Gerbig, founder and CEO of Pink Lily, turned this dream into reality. Her journey from a corporate insurance job to running a multimillion-dollar e-commerce business is not just inspiring but also packed with valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. This blog post will delve into Tori’s journey, providing insights and actionable advice for anyone looking to make a similar leap.

The Decision to Quit

Recognizing the Moment

For Tori Gerbig, the pivotal moment came when her daily online sales surpassed her corporate paycheck. This realization highlighted a critical sign that it was time to transition from a corporate job to full-time entrepreneurship. If you find yourself earning more from your side hustle than your regular job, it might be time to consider making the switch. Balancing a corporate job while nurturing a side business is tough, but it’s an essential step to ensure financial stability before taking the plunge.

Financial Considerations

Quitting your job to focus on a business is a significant decision, and financial preparation is crucial. Tori and her husband built an emergency fund of around $10,000, enough to cover a few months of expenses in case things went wrong. This safety net is vital for anyone planning to leave a stable job. It’s also essential to compare your side hustle income with your paycheck to determine if it’s sustainable. For Tori, surpassing her $40,000 annual salary through e-commerce sales was a clear indicator that it was time to move on.

Starting the Side Hustle

The Early Days

Tori’s entrepreneurial journey began out of necessity. After graduating in the midst of a recession and landing a $25,000-a-year insurance job, she and her husband needed additional income to pay off over $70,000 in student loans and other debts. They started selling various items on eBay, from golf clubs to Halloween masks, seizing any opportunity they found. This period was filled with trial and error, teaching them valuable lessons about what products worked and which didn’t.

Finding the Right Platform

Choosing the right platform to sell your products can make or break your side hustle. For Tori and her husband, eBay was the initial choice due to its broad audience and user-friendly setup. Each platform has its pros and cons. For instance, eBay and Amazon offer vast marketplaces but come with fees and competition. Etsy is ideal for handmade goods but might not suit all product types. Leveraging social media, like their successful Facebook group, can also drive sales and create a loyal customer base.

Growing the Business

Expanding Beyond eBay

Realizing the limitations of selling on eBay, Tori and her husband decided to launch their own e-commerce website. Having your own site allows for greater control over the customer experience, branding, and sales. While their initial website was basic, it served its purpose by reaching a broader audience and capturing sales 24/7, unlike their Facebook group which required constant attention.

Marketing Strategies

Effective marketing is key to growing an e-commerce business. Tori utilized social media marketing to create engaging content and connect with customers. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are excellent for reaching potential buyers. Email marketing also plays a crucial role in retaining customers and driving repeat sales. Building an email list and sending regular newsletters with promotions and new products can significantly boost sales.

Balancing Life and Business

Time Management

Balancing a full-time job with a growing business is challenging. Tori’s daily routine involved working from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, then spending evenings and nights on her side hustle, often until 2 AM. Efficient time management and setting priorities are crucial. Parents, in particular, need to find a balance between work and family time, ensuring they don’t burn out.

Working with a Spouse

Running a business with a spouse can be both rewarding and challenging. Tori and her husband had an advantage as they had previously worked together and understood each other’s work styles. They balanced each other out, with Tori being high-strung and her husband more laid-back. Clear communication and defined roles can help manage personal and professional relationships effectively.

Achieving Success

Key Milestones

One of the first significant milestones for Tori was achieving $100,000 in sales in a single month. This success validated their decision to focus on the business full-time. By the end of their first year, Pink Lily had generated over $4 million in revenue. These milestones are not just numbers; they represent hard work, strategic planning, and the importance of setting and achieving goals.

Scaling the Business

As the business grew, Tori and her husband hired staff to help manage operations. Building a reliable team is essential for scaling any business. They expanded their product lines and entered new markets, always focusing on maintaining quality and customer satisfaction. This approach helped them grow from $4 million in revenue to over $141 million in just a few years.

Overcoming Challenges

Common Challenges Faced

Every business faces challenges, and Pink Lily was no exception. Competition, inventory management, and customer service issues are common hurdles. Tori’s ability to adapt and address these challenges head-on contributed to their success. Staying ahead of competitors by continuously innovating and improving their offerings was crucial.

Staying Motivated

Running a business requires passion and perseverance. Tori emphasized the importance of setting and achieving goals to stay motivated. Learning from failures and viewing setbacks as opportunities to grow kept her driven. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network and continually seeking knowledge and inspiration can also help maintain motivation.

Lessons Learned and Advice

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Starting small and scaling gradually is essential. Market research and understanding your customer are critical components of any successful business. Be prepared for hard work and long hours, especially in the early stages. Persistence and resilience are key traits for entrepreneurs, as the journey will have its ups and downs.

Lessons from Tori’s Journey

Tori’s journey underscores the value of financial planning and balancing risk with strategic planning. Building a business requires dedication and sacrifice, but the rewards can be immense. Her story also highlights the importance of staying adaptable and learning continuously. Balancing personal life with business commitments is challenging but achievable with proper planning and support.

Future Plans and Vision

Pink Lily’s Growth

Pink Lily’s phenomenal growth shows no signs of slowing down. Tori plans to explore new opportunities, such as opening retail stores and expanding product lines. Staying focused on customer needs and market trends will continue to drive their success.

Tori’s Personal Goals

Beyond business growth, Tori aims to balance her professional achievements with personal life. Spending more time with family, giving back to the community, and inspiring other entrepreneurs are part of her vision. Achieving financial freedom has opened up numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth.


Tori Gerbig’s journey from a corporate job to running a multimillion-dollar e-commerce business is a testament to the power of perseverance, strategic planning, and hard work. Her story is a beacon of hope for aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that with the right mindset and dedication, financial freedom and business success are within reach. Whether you’re just starting or looking to scale your business, Tori’s insights offer valuable lessons to guide you on your entrepreneurial journey.

Tori Gerbig’s Narrative

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