Why I Quit My Secure Job and Started an Online Business

start an online biz

In one of my newsletters, I announced that I’m quitting my full-time job to pursue growing my freelance writing and editing 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, among 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 carefulcents@gmail.com).
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  1. Robb says:

    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!

  2. Vanessa @ cashcowcouple.com says:

    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 says:

      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.

  3. 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 says:

      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!

  4. 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 says:

      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

  5. 20sFinances says:

    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 says:

      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!

  6. 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.

  7. Laura yamin says:

    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!

  8. Shovellicious says:

    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 🙂

  9. Yakezie says:

    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

  10. Shannon_ReadyForZero says:

    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!

  11. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets says:

    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 🙂

  12. 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! 🙂

  13. 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.

  14. Mart Zee says:

    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 says:

      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!

  15. Tricia Pine says:

    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 says:

      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! 🙂

  16. PoppyJon says:

    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!

  17. Guest says:

    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 says:

      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 🙂

  18. Melissa Wood says:

    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. 😉

  19. Sammy says:

    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 !!

  20. Sammy says:

    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 says:

      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.

  21. bangtown says:

    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.

  22. Ateq Rana says:

    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.

  23. ken says:

    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.

  24. LP says:

    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!

  25. Krista says:

    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 says:

      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!

  26. Orlando Davis says:

    Hello Carrie. I don’t know if you still check this or not, but it seems like you reply to all your comments. I just recently turned 21 on May 28th. I never graduated High School, but I did get my G.E.D. I started some college when I was 16, I ended up failing both the classes that I took. Ever since I got out of the Military School I got my G.E.D at I started working at a Store I don’t know if you’re familiar with, it’s called Meijer. I got that job due to my Dad and his fiance working there for a considerable amount of time. First couple days, it was nothing. I was new to working, I was pushing carts making $7.75 an hour. Within a month of working there I was dreading even waking up to go in. 15 minute breaks felt like was sitting down and standing right back up. Lunches felt like an escape from the work I was doing, and even then wasn’t enough time, and on top of that I was spending a lot of my check buying food where I was working. I was paying my own phone bill, and providing $50 a week towards groceries in the house, eventually I started paying for Internet and Cable, on top of having to buy my own food. I hardly got any of my checks, and any of the money I did have that went to personal things felt like it wasn’t worth it in the end. I quit that job due to issues I had with my father, and it was instantly. I moved back with my mother and went a while without working. Constantly trying to find a job that I would least hate more than I was looking for something I would love. I eventually started getting with Temp services, and started working $9 – $11 jobs busting my ass off just to be happy to go home and that I made it through another day. This January I got fired from a job that I had been at for almost a year and a half, I have a roomate who worked there and currently still does, and he was really lenient with the rent. I have never been good with saving money, and I have places where I want to be but saving money is a really big issue with me. I stopped working for 4 months, and “actively” searched for a job. I wanted to find something I was alright with doing, and generally I just wanted to take a break from working. Now I have a job working in customer service, and I ABSOLUTELY DREAD IT. It’s only been about a month, and i’ve hated it from the first 2 weeks of training. I don’t agree with the companies policies, nor how they have us handle a lot of the customers situations. It’s a 30 minute drive for me and it takes me up to $100 in gas a week IF I don’t go anywhere else but work and home. It’s so bad, that I ran into a scam a couple weeks ago, and I literally almost gave it a try until I read reviews on the program, just so I could get out of working. The biggest part of my problem and mostly the reason I have told you all of this is this. I don’t know what I have a passion for. There are things I like casually doing, like playing video games. Although I do enjoy it, and it’s something I do daily for free. Getting into the gaming industry is not just about playing the game. I don’t know what I want to do in gaming. I’m not artsy, which is a big part of Graphic Design, nor am I the greatest with math, which coding involves a lot of. I can’t centralize anything I specifically LOVE doing, and even if I knew what I wanted to go for, I don’t have the money to invest into anything. My problem revolves around the fact, that I don’t know where to go, or what to do to get started. I wrote this out to you, cause I am hoping you could maybe provide me with some advice on maybe what to do to find out what it is I will enjoy doing, and hopefully give me some type of direction to start in. I really want to leave this job, but I don’t want to leave it without knowing where I want to go. Thank you for your time.

    • Carrie says:

      Hi Orlando, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. But I am glad that you recognize jobs that you hate and that you need to find something you love. That step right there took me far too long to realize (over 10 years in fact). You’re young so this is the time when you experiment to find what you enjoy and what you’re good at. My husband and I both only found careers we loved once we turned 26 & 27, so you have plenty of time.

      It sounds like you’re one of those innovative people who’s just plain unemployable, which trust me, is a GOOD thing! Keep trying new jobs and new career paths. I know it’s tough but it will be worth it, you’ll learn more about yourself and your career desires than ever before. Also, try working in the gig economy (there are lots of books on this topic) with companies like TaskRabbit, Fiverr or Instacart. You can set your own hours and you’ll get tips on top of your hourly rate. My husband is doing this over the summer and making about $15 an hour plus tips!

      Finally, don’t let your lack of high school diploma stop you. I never graduated either and took my G.E.D. but I was still able to find a career I loved and can now be my own boss! Hope that helps. Good luck!

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