Taking the Plunge: 2 Years Since I Quit!

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Taking the Plunge

Two years ago today I was having a hard time getting out of the bathroom. I had a knot in my stomach and nervous energy coursing through me. It wasn’t indigestion and it wasn’t bad food from the night before. No, this was self-imposed and entirely mental. You see, I had just quit my job to join the ranks of the self-employed. As I unloaded the contents of the small box from my cubicle that was my former work life, I was wondering what in the world I had just done.

Today much of the fear I felt two years ago has been replaced by excitement as I look at our growing business. Yes, today is a special day as it marks my two year Quitiversary. For those who were around for my first Quitiversary, they know Mrs. Frugal Rules started our business roughly two years prior to my leaving my job as a way to make ends meet and allow her to stay home with the kids.

Little did I know that her side hustle would turn into allowing me to tell my boss what he could do with my stock shilling job in the online brokerage industry. If I were truly honest with myself, while I was incredibly hopeful, I had serious concerns that things wouldn’t go well and I’d end up at another unfulfilling job. I mean, the doubters and the nay-sayers just had to be right…didn’t they?

I know I shared last year some of the things I learned over my first year of taking the plunge into self-employment. The thing is I’ve learned so much more about myself and business over this past year. So, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you. I know, I thought you’d never ask. 😉 Anywho, here it goes:

  • Any office, regardless of its size is better than being a cubicle jockey
  • Making money isn’t nearly as easy as the late night infomercials make it out to be. If it was, then everyone would be doing it and we’d all be millionaires.
  • Doubt is good. Use it to see how you can change or improve, then harness it to challenge yourself.
  • I may not have a 401k match anymore but a fully funded SEP is pretty darn sweet!
  • It will take for FLIPPING ever for some people to pay you. Even though they tell you the check is in the mail you get to wait another three months. Moral of the story, be prepared!
  • My clothing budget has dramatically plummeted. 🙂
  • Fear is inevitable. It’s a part of life. Don’t let it hold you back.
  • Balance, or any variety thereof, is impossible if you don’t make it a priority. We all make choices and it’s important to own them and schedule time for yourself if you want to find anything close to a balance.
  • Things will rarely turn out as you expect them to, so be flexible and roll with the punches.
  • Diversify, diversify, diversify…
  • This is a repeat from last year’s list, but it is possible to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s just more rewarding when you’re the one who helped create it.

I know there are many other things I could list, but these are the ones that stick out to me at the moment. As I shared a few weeks ago, I’ve come to love the choice and freedom that can come with working for yourself. That doesn’t mean that’s it’s all going to be chasing butterflies and sucking lollipops, but I will take the freedom and choice I have over the option of being shackled to a large corporation any day.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As I look back at all the ups and downs of the past two years I have come to embrace them. That’s not to mean I don’t still deal with fear, because I do. I imagine that I will at some level for the rest of my life. However, I don’t intend to let that fear hold me back.

I see all that I have learned about myself and about running a business over the past couple of years and dealing with the fear is worth it. I’m sure I still will have days where I wonder what the hell I’ve done and want to shut it all down, but life is simply way too short to give into the fear to actually do that.

With that in mind, I’m committed to the long haul with this. I want to teach our kids that living a life of coloring outside the lines is one that is much more enjoyable. I want them to see that the world is full of opportunity and not let fear hold them back. I want them to see that just because it may not make sense to those around them doesn’t mean they shouldn’t chase after their dreams. In total, I want to teach them to live life and enjoy it to its fullest, regardless of where it takes them.

I know this isn’t my normal writing style, as I’ve been more reflective lately as I hit the two year mark. But, I fully believe that if there is something in your life you want to chase after it. You may fail or you may find wild success. You never know. I can tell you one thing though, life is much sweeter when you try and fail as opposed to not trying at all as it’s in the failure you learn the greatest lessons.

I also believe that just because someone tells you it can’t be done or because you’re foolish to try, you don’t have to accept that as gospel truth. Yes, there may be something to take out of it but only you know your situation. As my Mom says, don’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. The nay-sayers may say you’re foolish or will fail miserably, but life is far too short to let the peanut gallery hold you back.

As one who hasn’t, I’m immensely thankful I didn’t and look forward to what else is in store on this crazy ride of owning my own business.


What is one thing you fear that you know is holding you back? Do you ever want to work for yourself – why or why not?


Photo courtesy of: Quinn Dombrowski

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    Congratulations on your Quitiversary!!!! I am coming up on my one year, and I agree with so much of what you said, especially the example you are setting for your kids. I am a highly self-motivated individual, but there is something about not wanting to fail with my son watching or more than that, proving to him that anything is possible that gets me going early in the morning and gives me energy late into the night. His second grade teacher tells me all the time how proud he is of me and how he tells the class that his mommy is the boss. With that kind of motivation, I know I can’t fail. Congrats again on your successes to date and many more to come!!

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon and congrats on you being near the 1 year mark! I LOVE that your son tells his class that you are the boss. πŸ™‚ That said, I could not agree more, proving to our kids that anything is possible is something that drives my wife and I to keep at it even when we want to throw in the towel.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    Wow can’t believe it’s been 2 years already! Congrats on that! I can’t agree more with this -> “I also believe that just because someone tells you it can’t be done or because you’re foolish to try, you don’t have to accept that as gospel truth.” There will always be someone telling you something is foolish and can’t be done, regardless of what it is you are planning on doing.

    • John says:

      Thanks DC! I know, it seems like just yesterday that I made the decision. I totally agree, there is always going to be someone out there telling you that you can’t do something or that it’s foolish. Hearing that actually drives me to succeed even more.

  • debt debs says:

    Congrats John! Good opportunity for me to give you a shout out! When I was young (poetically speaking) and green and starting my blog (oh my just 4 months ago!), you were one of the first I reached out to with one of my dumb questions. You took the time to answer thoroughly and we went back and forth a couple of times. I really appreciated that support and initial reception into the PF blogging community. Thanks for that, and I wish you much continued success! πŸ˜€

    • John says:

      Thanks Deb! Glad I could be of help…there are no dumb questions though, just dumb answers. πŸ™‚ That said, it’s so important to give and God knows I’ve been on the receiving end of that giving that it makes me want to give where I can.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Happy, happy quitiversary to you, my friend!!!! You and Nicole are living proof that, with hard work and a great plan, it CAN be done. Thank you to being an example and an encouragement for all of us.

  • Amy says:

    Happy Quitiversary! I love the reflective style.

  • Jon @ Money Smart Guides says:

    The time sure does fly! I was laid off from my job when I decided to blog full time. I didn’t get the chance to prepare mentally – or financially for that matter – to be down to one income. Luckily things have worked out well so far.

    I love being my own boss and setting my own hours. I also love the freedom that it offers. I am no longer tied to a desk every weekday from 9 to 5.

    This isn’t to say it’s easy, because it’s not. I still need to get the work done and in many cases, I have to work harder just to earn some money. But I love doing it and it never feels like work.

    • John says:

      That it does Jon! I’m glad that things have worked out for you as well. I don’t know that we could’ve done that if we weren’t prepared.

      I could not agree more, it’s definitely not easy. It’s likely the most difficult thing I’ve done, but it’s extremely rewarding.

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says:

    Happy two year quitiversary! Exciting! I’m glad that you still like it and are happy with your decision to quit. Maybe it’s the extra pressure from the wedding or the fact that my job has been changing into something I don’t particularly want to continue with, but lately as somebody who never wanted to be self employed, it’s seeming better and better.

    • John says:

      Thanks Daisy! I am too, otherwise it woudln’t be worth it. Very interesting to hear that. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way.

  • Natalie @ Financegirl says:

    Congratulations! 2 years is a long time! It’s really amazing. And I do very much appreciate your insights into self-employment (specifically how your clothing budget has plummeted and how people take a long time to pay)! Keep on sharing because as someone who is interested in being self-employed, I really appreciate knowing the little details that may not be shared as often.

    • John says:

      Thanks Natalie! It is a long time, but in many ways it seems like it was just yesterday that I started. Now that I’m not in the office anymore, there’s little need for dressier clothes. πŸ˜‰

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    I love the term quitaversary. πŸ™‚ I also love how you mentioned your clothing purchases/needs have drastically reduced. ha! So true! I have fashionable friends who suggest I need this cute top or that cute dress and I think, why? πŸ™‚ As far as the payment thing, and I’m sure you do this, but do you have terms where after 30 days there is a free or penalty?

    • John says:

      Thanks Tonya! I wish I could claim it as mine, but I know I first read the term elsewhere.

      You know, that’s a good question. It always seems to be the big companies that have the biggest issue in getting payment sent out to us. Since they send us a large volume of work, we sort of let it slide as we know they’ll pay…just not when we want it. πŸ˜‰

  • Will says:

    Congratulations on nearing the 2-year mark. And THANK YOU for spreading your belief that life is too short to just pay your dues in a cubicle and then retire. I personally know people who feel your anxiety and they choose to endure the pain rather than correct course I think life’s too short to be miserable until retirement.

    Awesome post. Thank you.

    • John says:

      Thanks Will! You know, I used to feel that anxiety and knew that there was just something else better out there for me…I was just afraid to do it. It was facing that fear that helped me take the leap. That said, I wouldn’t wish a cubicle on anyone!

  • Kim says:

    Congrats on two years. Do you ever wonder where you’d be if you hadn’t had the courage to quit your job? Lots of people say they want to quit their job, but are just complainers. There’s another group that really wants to and probably could, but they are too scared of giving up a steady thing to go for it. Then you have people like yourself who do take the plunge. I really admire and respect those who try, and I’m so glad it worked out for you.

    • John says:

      Thanks Kim! You know, I used to do that all the time when business started to pick up. I’d wonder what would be if I decided to stay. I really don’t do that as much anymore as I’m happy to be where we’re at. When I do look back now I use that as motivation and challenge to myself not to side idle if I see something that needs changed.

  • Joe says:

    Congratulation! It will be 2 years for me next month. πŸ˜‰
    I like the reflective style too. It’s nice once in a while. I think it’s really important to show our kids another way to live. The regular way isn’t working out. People are stressed out and unhappy all the time. At least this way, the kids will see that there are alternatives to being a cubical jockey, as you put it.

    • John says:

      Thanks Joe! Congrats to you as well!

      I agree, it is a nice change up to include in the normal routine. I could not agree more and that is a big part of what drives me…to show them that there are options out there for them.

  • Michelle says:

    Congrats on two years! I am almost at my one year mark and I am so happy that I made the leap.

    • John says:

      Thanks Michelle! Man, it has been a year already for you? It just seems like yesterday that you made the leap. πŸ™‚

  • Grayson Bell says:

    Congrats John! You have learned a lot during your two years of being self-employed. I wish you the best of luck on your continued journey and will be here to help with anything along the way!

  • Joshua @ CNA Finance says:

    Hey John, I love this post. My quitversary is 1/1/14 and you’re right, it was a bit scary. I think the thing that you pointed out about not getting paid is the only thing that really gets on my nerves. But, overall, I wouldn’t go back to an office no matter the pay!

    • John says:

      Thanks Josh! Yea, there isn’t enough that could get me back in the corporate world. I’ve become far too spoiled and the pay just wouldn’t be worth it.

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says:

    Congrats to you John! You don’t know how timely this post is! I just got a call from the boss…and when I hung up, I thought…grrr!!! I want to quit and be my own boss!!! Of course, it’s not always easy so pretty inspiring and awesome that you guys are doing well. Like I mentioned, the benefits/pension at my job are holding me here, but I need to color out of the lines and think outside the box sometimes. I’m too overly risk adverse…but you only live once and I don’t want to waste it being somewhere I don’t want to be.

    • John says:

      Thanks Andrew and glad to be timely. πŸ™‚ I know you’ve mentioned that in the past and can relate to being risk averse…especially with a family. At the end of the day you have to do what is right for you and your family, but what it came down to for me was not wanting to wake up and be 50 or 60 and realize I had wasted my life in a miserable job.

  • Nicola says:

    Congrats on the two years – I hope that one day I can say the same πŸ™‚

  • Dave LaLonde says:

    I think my biggest fear is losing everything I have, that’s why I work so hard to ensure that I have a stable life. Anyways, Happy 2 Year Quitiversary!

    • John says:

      I can definitely relate to that Dave, especially with a family. Thus why you plan and make sure you have a safety net before jumping. πŸ™‚

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Congratulations on hitting the 2 year mark AND having created a thriving, growing business! It is scary taking the plunge but it is also exhilarating too. I think it’s so important for our kids to see us loving what we do and knowing that you don’t have to follow the herd if that is not where your heart lies. To see us chasing after dreams and putting in the work to make them a reality. The outcome may not always be 100% what we expected but it’s one we worked to create … and can change too. Here’s to coloring outside the lines and many years of success!

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! It is pretty exhilarating, albeit a bit uneasy at times.I agree, I do think that it’s important for our children to see that we enjoy what we’re doing and helping them see that the sky is the limit.

  • E.M. says:

    Congrats on two years! That’s awesome. I enjoy reading about the experience others have had, so feel free to keep being reflective =). I think you’re setting a fantastic example for your kids. I watched both my parents be unhappy in their careers, and that didn’t give me much hope for my own! Life is definitely too short to fear failure.

    • John says:

      Thanks E.M.! I saw some of the same things as well and really didn’t want to wake up and realize that I was too old to give this a try. Life is indeed too short to allow fear to hold you back.

  • Jacob says:

    Ok, I’ll ask the question everyone wants to know:


    I’m assuming after 5 years of NOT going back to work, you’re doin’ alright!

    Glad to hear things are going very well, you’ve got a great attitude about it, thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

    • Jacob says:

      Meant to say 2* years.

      • John says:

        Lol, yea, we’re doing alright. We’re making more than we ever did when we were both in the corporate world, so I’ll take it. πŸ˜‰

        Thanks! Attitude plays such an integral role in it all. You need to keep that attitude good, bad or sideways.

  • Aldo @ MDN says:

    Happy Quitiversary. I hope to someday join you as well. It is inspiring to see others conquer the fear of failing and taking the plunge. I’m still not there, but I’m working hard trying to achieve it.

    • John says:

      Thanks Aldo! That fear can mess with you, but at the end of the day it doesn’t need to hold you back. πŸ™‚

  • Jason B says:

    Congrats. It’s been a year since I quit my 9-5. It has been a lot of up and downs, but I know I made the right decision.

  • Brad @ How to Save Money says:

    I worked for myself for 20 years. The business that kept me out of the corporate world for so long has finally failed. It sounds all well and good to talk about freedom and coloring outside the lines. I did that too. And told the nay sayers what they could do with it. Now I would give anything not to wake up everyday with the doubt and fear. II have no idea what I am supposed to do now. You are lucky you are being successful! Don’t let it slip away.

    • John says:

      Sorry to hear that Brad. That said, don’t sell yourself short. Running a business for 20 years is nothing to sneeze at. Best wishes!

  • Michelle says:

    i am in my last week of working my job. i will be working full time from home. It has been a very anxious-filled week. Congrats on the two year anniversary!

    • John says:

      That’s awesome Michelle, congrats! That’s an understandable emotion, but one that will be filled with excitement come next week. πŸ™‚

  • Melanie@Dear Debt says:

    Congrats, John! That is awesome. I am starting to seriously consider self-employment. I am terrified as I have tons of debt (still) and am the breadwinner. However, I work for a nonprofit, have no retirement match and think that if I hustled harder I could make more than 30k a year and have more flexibility. We’ll see! I’m just getting started! πŸ™‚

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