About Careful Cents and CarrieWelcome to Careful Cents! I’m Carrie Smith Nicholson, the #girlboss behind the Careful Cents brand, a community of solopreneurs and freelancers who are committed to building life-centered businesses.

In 2012 I paid off over $14,000 of consumer debt, then quit my full-time accounting job a year later. Since then I’ve launched the Careful Cents Club and built a community of over 7,000 freelancers and creatives.

You’re an artist in your own right, and I’ll show you how to make a living from your passion, without the headache or guilt of selling out.

I believe freelancers can start and grow a life-centered business based on meaningful relationships and earn a living without selling out.

I believe that you can earn a living doing what you love without selling your soul to make a buck. I have proven you don’t have to stay in debt, be stuck in a job you hate, or struggle to pay the bills.

It wasn’t easy quitting my job and starting an online business — I faced a lot of obstacles. But I have since been able to build a thriving online business that enables other go-getters to do the same. In 2015 I grossed over $78,000 from my blog and freelance business/consulting projects.

I did this without compromising my work ethics, connecting with quality clients who agreed to pay my rates (no discounts allowed) and only working on projects that get me excited. No more job boards. No more begging people to pay your rates. No more confidence issues.

About My Mission and This Blog

My mission is to help freelancers launch and grow successful client-based businesses through meaningful relationships. You CAN build a life that doesn’t revolves around work. I speak from experience as a workaholic myself, and have been able to use my own history to help small biz owners tackle financial mountains.

I’ve been helping small businesses, freelancers, and soloprenerus for the past 10 years. I currently coach some awesome freelancers who continue to inspire me by accomplishing great things.

And now I want to share all my secrets with you through my blog posts, weekly newsletter and monthly workshops I host. You can also sign up to the newsletter and get my free mini-course workshop about Landing Well-Paying Clients Without Using Job Boards (one freelancer called this video “gold”).

job boards workshop

When I’m not blogging, or working with awesome freelancers, I can be found painting or sketching in my art studio. To see all my artwork, connect with me on Instagram, @carefulcents. You can also connect with me in real time on Twitter, @carefulcents.

Start Your Own Adventure

Creating an exclusive and non-promotional community around my blog has opened up tons of opportunities — in my career, my relationships, and life in general. I’ve been able to travel more and go on new adventures! But this required a lot of time, effort, and mistakes that I hope you don’t have to go through.

Whether it’s quitting your job, finding quality clients, hiring help, outsourcing work, doing taxes, finding the right tools, or getting organized — all while on a small budget — you’ll find the answers here at Careful Cents.

Cheers to making money on your terms!

Meet the Careful Cents Team

Carrie Smith Nicholson, Financial Writer + Business Expert

Carrie is a financial coach, writer and the founder of Careful Cents. Her goal is to design a business that revolves around her life, and to earn a living without compromising her beliefs. After paying off all her debts in 2012, she quit her full-time accounting job a year later to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. Since then, she’s written for sites like The Huffington Post, and has been featured in Glamour and Redbook Magazine. You can connect with her in real time on Twitter: @carefulcents.


Kayla S
Kayla, Assistant Editor + Writer

Kayla is a freelance writer and virtual assistant who is working her way out of $18,000 of consumer debt and student loans. She’s a reforming fashionista and is blogging her way out of debt and clutter at her website, Shoeaholic No More. She is currently a full-time agricultural credit analyst and part-time side hustler. She is working hard to convert her passion for writing and personal finance into her full-time job. You can connect with her on Twitter: @Shoeaholicnomor.

We’re all on a journey, and here at Careful Cents that journey usually involves getting out of debt, quitting our full-time jobs, and pursuing our own business ventures. These writers have been brave enough to share their leap into entrepreneurship, and dare to leave nothing out. You’ll read the good, bad, and the ugly parts of what it takes to be a business owner and stick it to the man.

Read more about them and their individual stories, below.

Kali H
Kali Hawlk, Millennial Expert

Kali is a freelance writer and content manager who is currently building her business and becoming a full-time solopreneur. She’s passionate about personal finance, careers and business, and all things Gen Y. She writes about it all on her website, KaliHawlk.com as well as sharing her year-long journey to shifting her side hustle into a full-time career on Careful Cents. In her spare time she enjoys riding horses and being outdoors. You can connect with her on Twitter: @KaliHawlk.

Catherine A
Cat Alford, Family Finance Expert

Catherine is a freelance writer who lived in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep, before moving back the U.S. She recently quit her full-time job to become a freelance business owner, and documented her entire progress here on the blog. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She’s currently managing the ups-and-downs of being a mom to twins, and enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, BudgetBlonde.com. You can connect with her on Twitter: @budgetblonde.

Erin M
Erin M., Self-Employment Expert

Erin is a freelance blogger who enjoys talking about frugality, student loan debt and saving for the important things in life, on her blog, JourneyToSaving.com. She shares her backwards journey to self-employment here on Careful Cents, and is passionate about helping other millennials get their finances in order. When she’s not blogging, she loves reading, walking and spending time with family. Connect with her on Twitter: @journeytosaving.

Melanie L
Melanie, Debt Expert

Melanie is a freelance writer and editor currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances at DearDebt.com. During the day she’s documenting her journey to breaking up with debt, freelancing, and her side hustle adventures. Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Connect with her in real time on Twitter: @DearDebtBlog.