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Why I Quit My Secure Job and Started an Online Business

why I quit my job

In one of my newsletters, I announced that I’m quitting my full-time job to pursue growing my freelance writing and editin business. Then on my Facebook page, I hinted to this same thing when I posted this photo. Now, it’s official. 

On May 1st, 2013 I officially quit my full-time job to become my own boss. 

If you would have asked a few years ago, if this goal was my intention, I would have laughed in your face. For several reasons:

  • I’m too logical to quit a stable job with steady income
  • Being your own boss is stressful since you’re under pressure to make money and put food on the table
  • I have no where near the amount of money saved up I’d like to have as a savings cushion 
  • I’m also the breadwinner so if I fail or succeed, it’s all riding on me

So what made me want to quit my job, when so much of my thought process is against it? 

Time to Stand Up For Myself 

Well, the main thing is that I can no longer work for someone who treats me like their assistant. I’ve worked at this same accounting job, for the same boss for over 10 years, ever since I graduated from high school. And during that time I’ve been very eager to learn and to please. 

However, over the past two years they’ve been taking advantage of that (more than usual), even to the point where I am doing EVERYTHING besides accounting, and the bookkeeping is falling behind. 

So to make-up for it I’ve had to work on weekends, and late during the evenings to get caught up. Then they want me to run errands for them and balance their personal checkbook, amongst other personal requests. 

I love my boss and think the world of them as a couple, but I wasn’t hired to pick-up their dry cleaning or help them load photos onto the computer. I was hired to help keep their books clean, do the monthly accounting, and pay the bills on time, as well as work with the CPA on a weekly basis. 

My Ideas Are Not Respected 

When I approached them about this, and urged them to hire an assistant to help do the other office tasks — like answering the phone and getting the mail — they basically flipped out and called me a spoiled employee. 

After 10 years of showing up on time every day, only taking 4 sick days and being at their beck and call, they didn’t have enough respect to listen to my ideas. 

And in fact, I could save them some money, since they could pay someone else $10 or $15 an hour, instead of paying me twice that, to do the simple office tasks. But they’re a bit stuck in their ways, and now it’s come down to an ultimatum. Which means I have to quit and make it on my own as a freelancer. 

Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending more time in the entrepreneurial world over the past year, and have developed a new perspective. Or maybe it’s because I finally woke up to the fact that this job is going nowhere. I’m taking on more responsibilities every day for the same pay, my social life is non-existent and I spend more time at work than I do at home. 

Whatever the reason is, I know it’s time to move on.

My Career is NOT My Life 

I didn’t come to this decision lightly, and it still goes against many of my logical ideas about how you’re supposed to prepare for the leap into full-time freelancing, but I believe with all my heart this is the right decision — no matter how much opposition I get. 

For the past decade my family, marriage/divorce, health and overall happiness have all taken a backseat to my job and my career. But I’m not willing to sacrifice those things any more.

I’m committed to this journey of creating a lifestyle business! One that revolves around my life, instead of revolving around my business. 

Why Now is the Right Time to Quit 

If you’re feeling the same things I’ve mentioned here, right now is the best time to think about re-organizing your life and finding balance. 

I mean, why wait? 

The next month, the next year, heck even the next decade, is gonna go by anyway. What will you have to show for it? Money? That only helps you buy stuff, it doesn’t create lasting memories or experiences. Recognition in your career? That’s great but it doesn’t feed your soul. 

As my sister wisely reminded me;

I’d rather eat ramen everyday and have no regrets, than eat steak and potatoes every night and live a miserable life.

She’s right! 

For these reasons, I decided to quit my job to pursue more important things in life, and I think you should consider the same!

If you have any questions about how to quit your job and create a lifestyle business, feel free to comment below (or send an email to
#FCchat: How to Get Started Freelancing
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About the author: Carrie Smith is a financial writer, business consultant and freelance coach. After paying off $14,000 of debt she quit her accounting day job and launched Careful Cents as a blog and community aimed at helping freelancers overcome financial mountains and build client-based businesses through meaningful relationships. She works one-on-one with freelancers and side-hustlers who are ready to make a profit without selling out. When she’s not writing about finance, and geeking out over numbers, she enjoys painting, sketching, and making food with her chef husband. You can connect with her in real time on Twitter or Instagram: @carefulcents.
51 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Robb March 30, 2013, 9:37 am

    I think too many people don’t understand their own value in the marketplace, I’m glad to hear you do! I hope this transition goes as smoothly as possible for you!

    • Carrie Smith March 30, 2013, 1:01 pm

      Thanks for the support Robb, as always! I’m so glad to have someone like you who’s cheering me on. :)

  • Vanessa @ March 30, 2013, 10:00 am

    Wow! Congrats on this bold and AWESOME life change. I am mostly impressed that you were able to build an online presence and also work that hard at your job. I hope much happiness and a regain of balance of work and play comes back into your life. One month to go!

    • Carrie Smith March 30, 2013, 1:00 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Vanessa! I really appreciate the support (yes, one month to go). :) It was rough the last couple years, and I worked waaaaay too much, but I’m really optimistic about the future and regaining balance again.

  • Sarah Li Cain March 30, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Good for you! There are more important things in life than money. And most people’s ideas about ‘security’ are just illusions anyway. I am in the same position myself and if I do get a job again, it’ll probably be for part time work or just temporary contract work.

    • Carrie Smith March 31, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Thanks Sarah! And good for you too! In the future I might consider doing part-time work or period contract work to help make a little extra money for certain things. Or for traveling :) Maybe to see you in China soon!

  • Andrea Whitmer March 30, 2013, 2:37 pm

    You’re already familiar with my quitting story – I definitely wasn’t “prepared” in the way I thought I should be, but (similar to your post) my crappy job pushed the issue until it really didn’t feel like a choice.

    It’s scary. Really scary. But you will find that the increased happiness beats your fear and the money will show up when you need it. You’ll work 100 times harder for yourself because you’ll be doing work that you care about. I’m excited for you, friend! You’re going to be just fine, and I can’t wait to add you to my list of internet coworkers. :)

    • Carrie Smith March 31, 2013, 1:35 pm

      Woohoo! Go us internet-preneurs! We are either crazy or awesome, that’s all I can say. :) Thanks the support, it’s so nice to know that I have people that have been there to help cheer me on. I can’t wait to become a crazy work-aholic person for myself…lol

  • 20sFinances March 30, 2013, 6:08 pm

    Congrats! That’s a bold move, but I’m sure you will be successful. I’m curious if you thought about looking for a job with a different company? Or, did you job just make you hate the idea of working for someone else so much that you have to try it on your own? Just curious! Either way, good luck!

    • Carrie Smith March 31, 2013, 1:32 pm

      Yes, actually I originally thought about working part-time for a couple other small companies who are in the same industry. But sadly, I’ll have to put that on hold since another reason I’m quitting is to help take care of a family member who’s going through some medical stuff over the next 3 months. But that’s a smart idea for sure!

  • T.S. Christian March 30, 2013, 10:03 pm

    Oh this is really awesome!! I’m glad you’re quitting and making your life your own! 😀

    Naturally, it’s great news to leave a situation that doesn’t make you happy. While I was cooking dinner, I realized that in my previous job (my last day was this Friday!) I was living paycheck to paycheck. So I figured, if I’m going to live paycheck to paycheck, I might as well do it on my own terms and in my own way versus being at a job I dislike and being forced to follow arbitrary rules and standards.

    • Carrie Smith March 31, 2013, 1:37 pm

      I’m SUPER excited for you T. and think you made a great decision. I’m excited about finding my own path too, and would much rather be broke working for myself (and much happier) than being broke working for someone else. Go you!

    • Amanda Abella April 1, 2013, 8:31 am

      Yay Tatiana!!!!!!! So proud of you!!!

  • Laura yamin March 31, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Yup i am in a similar boat myself. I am not ready to let go and take the entrepreneur leap just yet, however I am ready for a bridge job. This will allow me to be fiscally responsible before going full time.

    I am excited for you and your journey. I know you are awesome at what you do and offer to others this would be a great ride for sure!

    • Carrie Smith April 1, 2013, 11:09 am

      I love that term “bridge job” that’s a great idea! Thanks for the kind words too, I really appreciate the support.

  • Shovellicious March 31, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Congratulations! I have never been in situation like this but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and I’ll be back here to read more how’re you doing after this :)

    • Carrie Smith March 31, 2013, 1:36 pm

      Awesome! I’ll be sure to keep the posts coming then :)

  • Amanda Abella April 1, 2013, 8:30 am

    Yaaaay! I’m so happy for you!!! We need a Skype call missy!

    • Carrie Smith April 1, 2013, 2:12 pm

      YES! Sending you an email now :)

  • Yakezie April 1, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Exciting stuff! 10 years is a very long time to work at one place, and also enough time for you to get your ducks in order for full time entrepreneurship. I think you will do well!

    Best, Sam

    • Carrie Smith April 2, 2013, 8:46 am

      Thank you Sam for the support, it means a lot to me! I can’t wait to see what the future holds :)

  • Shannon_ReadyForZero April 1, 2013, 5:58 pm

    Congratulations Carrie! I’m sure it was a long, hard journey to get to this point but it sounds like you’re more than ready for your adventures ahead. Looking forward to hearing all the great things you’re working on!

    • Carrie Smith April 3, 2013, 10:45 am

      Thanks Shannon, I’m super excited to see how this next year goes. I have high hopes!

  • eemusings April 2, 2013, 3:52 pm

    Congratulations Carrie! Both on taking the leap and launching the Freelancers’ Club (which I just saw on Twitter). May 2013 be the year for you.

    • Carrie Smith April 3, 2013, 10:46 am

      Thank you! Your support means a lot, I really appreciate it. :)

  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets April 3, 2013, 5:22 pm

    Wow, awesome! Congrats on taking a huge leap, sounds like a relief. I bet the entrepreneurial fire with burn much more brightly knowing you are 100% dependent on yourself for every penny. Excited to see what’s next :)

  • The Norwegian Girl April 4, 2013, 2:18 am

    congratulations on taking the big step! Sounds like you did the right thing! :-)

  • The Happy Homeowner April 5, 2013, 10:47 am

    Congratulations! I just did the same thing about two months ago…you won’t miss it at all!

    I’m in the same boat about wanting a better, more well-rounded life, too. I’m all about the balance and so happy to have another non-9-5er among us! :)

    • Carrie Smith April 6, 2013, 2:27 pm

      So cool we are in the same boat with all of this. It’s nice to know someone who’s going through the same type of thing! Really glad we connected :)

  • SyntaxSam April 5, 2013, 11:58 am

    It’s about dang time! Congrats

  • Tahnya Kristina April 6, 2013, 9:17 am

    Love it Carrie. Congrats! I wish you all the best of luck out there on your own and I know that you are going to be great at running your own busines. I am going to share this inspirational post next Friday on our Dinks Finance weekly roundup. Have a great weekend.

    • Carrie Smith April 6, 2013, 2:27 pm

      Thanks so much TK! It’s so awesome to have your support, means a lot!

  • Mart Zee April 9, 2013, 7:09 pm

    Carrie, this is brave move. I wish to do something similar, but first I want to see some progress in my writing – blogging and investing (my niche) before I take that move. I think you are making a great step in your life, considering, as you said, “you have to put meal on the table”…

    • Carrie Smith April 14, 2013, 6:36 pm

      That’s a very smart approach Mart! It’s something I’ve been doing the last few years, to prepare for this leap to being my own boss. Thanks so much for the support!

  • Tricia Pine April 11, 2013, 6:33 am

    Yay! So excited for you! I can’t wait to watch how you launch into unbelievable success. I am sure all of your exceptions will be exceeded and every dream met. You have so much to offer the world – too much to stay locked into another person’s vision. Congrats! You are brave, selfless, and super cool. Now you are gonna rock it!!!

    • Carrie Smith May 16, 2013, 5:57 pm

      Thanks Tricia! I’m really excited to see what the future holds for me personally and professionally. I couldn’t be here without all your awesome support! :)

  • Derek Olsen April 11, 2013, 9:01 am


  • PoppyJon April 26, 2013, 10:13 am

    Congrads, After reading your story, I can see why you are making your decision. I’m older than you by far and was lucky enough to get and work at a great job (I was a telephoneman for 41 yrs). But, I always wondered if… I think you can!

  • Guest May 14, 2013, 11:41 pm

    This is amazing and inspirational! I’m in the process of doing this! I left my retail job of 2.5 years for a office temp job which is 9-5 and they offered me a permanent position. However I turned it down cause I couldn’t see myself stuck in a stuffy office all day. Now that boss is upset and telling me I’m crazy for leaving a steady job. It may be true but if rather be called crazy than be unhappy! Congrats to you !!

    • Carrie Smith May 16, 2013, 5:56 pm

      What a great perspective, and I definitely agree that I’d rather be called crazy (which is what I was called too) than be unhappy and in a job I didn’t like. Good for you for sticking to your guns! Good luck and thanks for the congrats :)

  • Melissa Wood June 10, 2013, 4:20 pm

    I quit my job last Monday to work on my business full time. Life is too short to be miserable. Congrats to you, and best of luck. 😉

  • Sammy August 27, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Thank God for people like you – I think all bosses start to take you for granted – I’m a teacher at a private school – low pay, long hours and lots of work – I’d already made up my mind to leave my job next week – this gave me the push I needed – hell – you only live once – might as well make a go of it rather than being a miserable lackey !!

  • Sammy September 8, 2013, 5:39 am

    Quit my job last Friday (6th Sept 2013) – married with 4 children – no savings to fall back on – but hey, my destiny is now in my hands – watch out world, here I come !!!

    • the dude September 11, 2013, 5:12 pm

      Funny I put my two weeks notice in at my job Sept 6 as well, and came across this blog giving me some inspiration for the future.

  • bangtown September 10, 2013, 12:54 pm

    I quitted my job on December 2012 disregarding my boss ‘s advices. Now Sept 2013, I am still jobless and seeking a job. That’s my most stupidest decision.
    I hope you will be nice with your decision.

  • Ateq Rana September 19, 2013, 3:55 pm

    Carrie, Loved they way you explain. i was just googling for couple of hours having exact same feeling to quit job and your one line “Its time to standup for your self” gave me the right power to take the decision. Great Stuff.

  • ken September 24, 2013, 5:45 am

    This piece wouldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been pretty sick and tired of my boring job lately. I need a life really outside of this corporate slavery. There is no turning back now in becoming my own boss. I made this irrevocable decision a long time ago. If only people can realise that we do not work to live rather we live to work. It’s really beautiful to be free again and do just what I want with my life. We only have this life, let’s make the best of it then.

  • ken September 24, 2013, 5:54 am

    Thanks Carrie. A very helpful write up.

  • LP February 19, 2014, 12:11 am

    I quit my job today! It’s almost surreal. I’ve been working since I was 15 without any breaks in employment. Sometimes I would work multiple jobs. And at my recent job I was employed for 10 years, but here I am. I quit!

    Ive complained before and nothing was ever done. others complained and were fired. My boss is conniving and very childish. She will retaliate even worse than she already has, knowing that ive complained to higher management. Ive dealt with this for years and have been a loyal dedicated worker. Nonetheless, she has stunted me from promotions. If you looked at my files, i was consistently promoted and put on projects until she decided to take me off. Now not only is she holding me back from growing with the company, she is making it impossible to work without being consistently harassed and singled out. I finally put my foot down. Defied her wishes and quit. I’d rather be happy than live miserably working there. Thank you so much for your inspiration. I am finally free to pursue whatever I want!

  • Krista January 27, 2016, 1:05 pm

    I’ve just come across your story. I love it! My husband, who is 52 has been in accounting f o r e v e r! Might you have any ideas or words of wisdom of where he might start moving toward doing something similar to what you are doing? I know, super strange question. I know he would love to find a passion for something else. I think his age is stressing him out, “starting over now?’ kind of thing.

    Any words of wisdom?

    • Carrie January 27, 2016, 10:29 pm

      Hi Krista, the way that I transitioned my career was through lateral freelancing. Or taking my past knowledge of finances and accounting, and then becoming a financial/tax writer. This could be an area your husband can pursue if he’s interested. Another route would be a consultant and help other individuals or small businesses who need a third-party to give them unbiased financial help. Just an example!

      Perhaps your husband could experiment with a few other things, see what other skills or talents he has and cultivate them. The learning curve for starting over online is pretty forgiving so don’t worry about making mistakes. It’s never too late to try!

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