What’s Your Exit Strategy?: How One Indie Took Her Dream Full-Time

[I originally wrote this post in June 2008. Since that time, the Indie Business Network's name has been changed, and so has Kristin's since she and Peter have gone their separate ways. I updated this post in 2015 to reflect these and other changes, including Kristin's gorgeous new picture.]

When I left my full-time job to launch the Indie Business Network in 2000, my exit plan was simple: exchange a career that paid well, but which no longer suited my lifestyle, for a career that allowed me to do what I love and enjoy my lifestyle. While my exit plan was pretty basic (and risky!), other people like Kristin Fraser and her husband Peter, had a smarter strategy.


As co-owners of The Grapeseed Company in Santa Barbara, the couple planned Kristin's exit from full-time work as an educational diagnostician years in advance. Their planning and dedication paid off last week on June 12, when Kristin left her job to work The Grapeseed Company full-time.

I caught up with Kristin to find out a little about her exit plan and how things are going.

dM: What was your exit strategy?

Kristin: Altogether, it was a 3-year transition, ending just last week. I did it in stages. At first, I cut my hours a just a little to get things started in the business. I worked 4 days a week and ran the business at night, on Fridays and on weekends. Then, a year or so into it, I cut back to about 50%.

I worked out a job sharing arrangement with another educator to ease the transition. She worked the days I wasn't there, and vice versa. It was a great arrangement. After doing that for a year, I left the educational arena to pursue our family business! I maintain my teaching credentials in case I need them in the future.

As of June 12, I am 100% devoted to The Grapeseed Company, and I couldn't be happier.

dM: Were you able to keep your health insurance?

Kristin: Fortunately, I have health insurance through my husband's full-time job. (He also serves as The Grapeseed Company's accountant.) Without insurance through his job, I would have had to consider alternative exit strategies and I think it would have been a more difficult transition.

dM: What tips can you offer others who want to create an exit strategy so they can take their dream full time?

Kristin: Think outside the box. Look deep within your career path or profession to find creative ways to maneuver your work hours and responsibilities so that you can simultaneously accommodate your business. If you look hard enough and want it badly enough, you'll make it work.

dM: How do you like being a member of IBN?

Kristin: It's great! It offers members a huge wealth of resources. Whenever I have time, I check out all of the great information at the site that helps me run my business and stay on top of things. I really enjoy the Group Coaching.

We are working hard to update our online presence and the Group Coaching sessions have been great for that.

Of course the affordable products liability insurance is great too!!

dM: What's your best selling product?

Kristin: Our Surf Body Lotion, a moisturizing lotion made with grapeseed oil, coconut, lime and mint. We like to say that one whiff will immediately transport you to the beach!

Kristin on the Indie Business Podcast!

If you liked hearing these tidbits about Kristin's story, you'll love my interview of her on Indie Business Podcast!

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.