Taking the Plunge: Choice and Freedom

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Taking the plunge

I shared a few weeks back about having been offered a job out of the blue. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, go ahead and do so and we’ll wait for you…I promise. 😉

Anyway, the job offer sort of took me by surprise as I wasn’t looking for it nor really wanting it to be quite honest.

The job would’ve basically been doing what I’m doing now with my sites, but for a business. It wasn’t spectacular money, though it was in the form of W-2 income, which can be nice to have as someone running their own business. I’m sure there were other benefits that would’ve come with it such as a retirement plan, paid time off and such. At first blush I was quick to write it off, but after letting it settle for a bit I wasn’t so sure and was faced with a dilemma.

Yes, ultimately, it would’ve meant more money. I like more money and who doesn’t? 🙂 It would’ve also meant I would have had to farm out even more work on my sites and, more importantly, impact us from a business angle. From an outsiders perspective I understand that it might seem foolish to turn down such an offer, especially since it would’ve allowed me to continue to rock the PJ wardrobe of working from home but it would have also meant losing two vitally important things I have come to love since taking the plunge – choice and freedom.

Perspective is Key

As I was going through my pro/con list of considering the offer I kept coming back to the same thing…that two years ago I would’ve jumped at this offer without a second thought. I was miserable as a stock broker and knew in my bones there was something else better out there for me. It really didn’t come down to money (ok…maybe a little of it did), but it largely came down to that I didn’t have the freedom and choice of what I wanted to do. I didn’t have the freedom to decide to work on one thing over another. More importantly, my family was being held back by this lack of freedom and that was something I was no longer willing to accept.

Now that I look back at the past nearly two years of running our business, I have gained perspective. We have dealt with challenges and months where we didn’t know what was coming the next month. We are now in a spot where we are seeing record months and steady growth.

It’s exciting, to say the least.

Even though I still deal with fearing being successful and what comes with that I see that we now have the freedom to choose what we want. We can choose what we want to do. If we want to start offering a new service or go on vacation we can do it. We don’t have to ask anyone if it’s ok to do so; we just do it. The money aside, having that freedom is intoxicating.

Be Prepared for Anything

This job offer showed me something I continue to see as we run our business – to be prepared for anything. Of course, there is a way to prepare yourself for most things financially and you can find a number of ways to do so on this site.

From a small business perspective, it’s the same exact thing. You never know when things are going to come up and you need to be prepared for them so you can make a rational decision. That’s not always easy, but it’s incredibly important to do. The last thing you want is to make an emotional decision on the fly (like I was tempted to do in saying yes to the job offer) and have it impact the trajectory of where you want to go in life. None of us are perfect and we all are guilty of doing this at times, but being prepared calls for being able to bring rationality into a situation.

It’s funny how time can change us. A year ago I would’ve considered this a waste of time. Maybe it was, but I choose to look at it differently. We have made the choice to take the plunge and with that come times where you doubt yourself.

You doubt being able to bring in more business.You doubt being able to save money for things you want/need in the future and you can doubt whether or not you’re making the best choices for your family. Sometimes you need to listen to those doubts, but I’ve learned that more often than not, you need to allow them to push you to grow.

I don’t know that I’d never take another traditional job. That’s too hard to tell and hopefully I have many years ahead of me as a self-employed businessman. What I do know though is that I’ve been ruined for the corporate world. The money may be great, but if it does not allow freedom and the choice to do what I want to do, then it’s simply not for me.


Are you tempted when situations arise out of the blue? What is your ideal job? How do you make big decisions like this?


Photo courtesy of: Josef Grunig

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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.

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  • Catherine says:

    It can be difficult to have such perspective. Good for you John. I was also in a similar situation not that long ago and I also turned ot down mostly because of the hours even though it meant a lot more money being made in less days actually worked.

    • John says:

      That it can Catherine. I find that is especially the case whenever money is involved. But, I’m happy with where we’re at so that’s what counts I guess. πŸ™‚

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    I wouldn’t say I’m tempted by things that come out of the blue, but I would say I’m very open to job/business opportunities. A random comment to a friend after church (who works at the same biz as me) landed me in an interview four days later with a director in his area. I had no plans on starting interviewing, but I was open to new opportunities. Ironically I then started to apply to open positions that aligned with what I was looking for (internal positions so far). I think it also GREATLY varies team-by-team and position-by-position, and of course company-by-company, as far as how much freedom you can have within a traditional job.

    • John says:

      It’s crazy how things like that can work out at times DC and glad that it has turned out for you the way it has. I would agree as well that it depends greatly on the given role you’re in.

  • Dee @ Color Me Frugal says:

    Good for you! Like the mastercard commericals say, I think that freedom is… priceless. And since the money wasn’t going to be that great anyway, that sort of made it easier for you. Glad you made the decision to stick to what you know is best for you and your family. Kudos!

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    I love this John! And I hear you 100%! Someone told me that it takes at least 2 years for a new business to really get going, so when I started mine, I mentally prepared for this timeframe. And even though I knew it, I still put lots of pressure on myself when I didn’t hit the numbers I wanted to hit right away. Last week I was talking to my hubby about all of my upcoming business adventures and we were shocked to think it has not even been a year yet. There are so many moments of doubt when you own your own business, but yet so many moments of pure joy that you never got from the corporate environment. I am completely ruined for the corporate life as well and I would hate to think about working full-time in anything other than yoga pants (I sometimes even meet with clients in my yoga pants). But it’s funny because I hedge myself like you do and I “never say never” about returning, but it would take “A LOT” of persuasion from Corporate America to get me back.

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! I’ve heard the same basic time frame as well and knew that going into it, but it’s crazy how doubt can creep in and make you question yourself. It’s awesome to have those opportunities, especially as you’re just starting out. I feel the same way. I almost feel guilty at times for meeting clients in shorts and sandals, but when you’re your own boss then who cares? πŸ˜‰

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says:

    Sometimes, turning down a job offer for your business can be a good thing and ultimately serve you better; often though, people are too committed to working for themselves and turn down offers to their own detriment. My dad is one of those people and it drives me nuts.

    • John says:

      I agree Daisy, that’s why it’s so important to try and be honest with yourself. You never know what might come up and you need to be mindful of those opportunities and seize them if the right one comes along.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    So, so excited for you that the decision you made was the right one for you and your family, and that you know that without a doubt. And I totally agree about working for yourself: I’d side hustle 24 hrs a day if it meant I could stay out of the traditional work force.

    • John says:

      ” I’d side hustle 24 hrs a day if it meant I could stay out of the traditional work force.” YES! I could not agree more my friend.

  • Canadian Budget Binder says:

    Yes, I’m tempted hence why I now have a second job which is part-time but my dream job. I know that I will eventually get in full-time. It comes with all the bells and whistles but it also means in the meantime I’m working more hours. It’s not many but enough to have my foot in the door and that’s what I need. I think it all boils down to what the individual wants from their career and where they seem themselves in the future.

    • John says:

      I agree Mr. CBB, it does and should come down to what you want from your career. Otherwise, it doesn’t make much sense. Great for you on taking that opportunity!

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says:

    I think it’s fabulous that you had the choice to make that choice (if that makes sense).

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    I would have a hard time taking a 40 hour per week traditional job right now but like you, I would have probably jumped at the chance a few years ago. It’s funny how getting more control of your time makes you picky like that!

    • John says:

      It’s funny how that works out Kim. I like being in control, so giving up some of it is about the last thing I would even look to do.

  • Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    Choices and freedom are huge…so much more than the money, imo. I would consider any position that came to me “out of the blue” because that may be God bringing something into my path I had not considered before. But like you, I’d seriously way the pros and cons and give it a lot of prayer before making any decision.

    • John says:

      I agree Brian. Money is nice, but it doesn’t make up for the ability to have freedom and make your own choices. Very true on an opportunity possibly bringing about something you may not have considered before, which is why it’s so important to look at it as rational as possible.

  • MMD says:

    John, you can’t take this job and you have to stay self-employed. I live vicariously when it comes to self employment through reading your blog! πŸ™‚

  • Dave Lalonde says:

    Congrats on your decision! I have a great job so I don’t feel tempted at all when situations arise.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    I don’t think there is anything more important than choice and freedom. Thankfully you were in a position to be able to step back and assess the situation, rather than feel compelled to take a job that ultimately wasn’t right for you. For me, when unexpected opportunities present themselves, I always take it as a sign that I need to take stock. We all get so wrapped up in our lives that we can live on autopilot and forget to check to make sure we aren’t actually missing out. Sometimes I find that I’m doing exactly what I should be and other times I see that I am missing out.

    • John says:

      That’s a great attack to take Shannon! I believe I did some of that in that situation and is helpful to make sure you don’t have blinders on that are restricting you from seeing something that would be beneficial to you.

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says:

    It’s understandable and everyone does get tempted by a different opportunity, especially when the new opportunity comes with certain benefits. You just have to weigh them and decide which makes the most sense, which guys have done. Making those decisions are tough…generally I list the pros and cons like you did and discuss if with my wife. Money is an important factor, but money isn’t everything. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I have golden handcuffs at my job with great benefits…it would be hard to leave. Sometimes I’d like to pursue self-employment, but I’m a bit adverse to the risk.

    • John says:

      I agree Andrew, it can be understandable especially when different benefits come into play. I remember you saying that in the past and can definitely understand why it’d be difficult to leave a situation like that.

  • Practical Cents says:

    It’s really great that you had the opportunity and the right circumstances to make the choice that was right for you. I think it’s important to consider all opportunities even if you were not expecting them.

    • John says:

      I agree Raquel, it is important otherwise you never know what opportunity you may miss or need to pass on.

  • Travis @debtchronicles says:

    Once you know what you want, you know what you want, right John? I was approached with an offer to work for a different company within the last few years as well…..and it initially seemed like a good idea to go through with it as the environment at my company was less than rock solid at the time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it really wouldn’t be any better if I jumped to a new ship. So, I stayed where I was at, and have continued to thrive right where I’m at. The grass is always greener where you water it.

    • John says:

      Exactly Travis! That’s awesome it has worked out for you that way and often times it’s the place you’re at that really is best.

  • debs ( says:

    Whatever works for you, John! My sis is trying to get me to quit my job because she recently got laid off and is semi-retired but she’s 7 years younger than me. I get so concerned about their finances, let alone my own, that there’s no way I would quit voluntarily. No matter what crap comes my way, I will work through it for the next 5 – 7 years and then over and out!

    • John says:

      Sorry to hear about your sister Deb. It definitely has to be what is right for you and your situation, whatever the decision is. πŸ™‚

  • E.M. says:

    I agree that choice and freedom come before money. Flexibility is so important to have. Most businesses don’t really care about your wants or needs, but you get to take those into consideration and prioritize them by being your own boss! Figuring out what you value the most (money or time with family, for example) and seeing if a new job aligns with your values is good to do.

    • John says:

      You’re exactly right E.M., it is important to have and from my experience many companies don’t care about what you want or need any more. I’m much happier controlling it myself.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    I remember talking with you about this one John. I was offered a job by my mortgage lender. It took me by surprise, but I knew I didn’t want to take it. I don’t like the mortgage industry and have already done it before. Though we can be quick to come up with a decision, it is good to step back and think about these things fully.

    • John says:

      I just read about that. It is a good problem to have, to be wanted, but it is a good time to sit back and reflect and make sure where you’re at is best.

  • Joshua @ CNA Finance says:

    Hey John, I remember reading that post, and I’ve made the same type of decision. I think I’m “ruined for the corporate world” as well. I’ve only had freedom for 6 months and 1 day now, but it’s the most addicting drug in the world!

    • John says:

      “…it’s the most addicting drug in the world!” I could not agree more my friend. Seeing what we can do now and be in relative control of it AND get paid for it is one of the best things I’ve experienced professionally. Congrats on your mark Josh, it’s an awesome feeling to have!

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    Yeah I totally get how the temptation would be there. Even with me not liking my current freelancing situation, I might have to give it some serious thought before I would take a full time job. I guess I would wonder if I just gave it some more time, would something I like come along with freelancing…a better client or project? It’s something to think about…

    • John says:

      I imagine you can relate a lot to this Tonya. It’s just so difficult at times when you work for yourself. One day things can be great and you sign a new client and a month later you can lose 30% of your income. That said, I’m definitely in the serious thought camp before ever jumping back into corporate America.

  • Will @ FQF says:

    I’m always open to situations that come out of the blue.

    And as Warren Buffett says, there should be no thumb-sucking in business ie: don’t procrastinate in making decisions.

    • John says:

      Totally agreed Will. There’s a time to think over your decision, but that’s far different from procrastination.

  • Brad @ How to Save Money says:

    I haven’t had a corporate job in nearly 25 years. I haven’t had a job with any sort of boss in all that time either. I’m not sure how I would react to the loss of freedom that taking that kind of position would entail. I’m just starting a new business and so far not making much of anything. I have faith though that it will grow. Everything I have worked on in the past has. It just takes a little time. I am hopeful that I will never have to go back to work for the man, ever!

  • Natalie @ Financegirl says:

    I’m a huge proponent of going with my gut feeling when it comes to major decisions. Sometimes, there are so many pros and cons that I think my subconscious really takes over and allows me to have a certain feeling about the opportunity, and that’s what I go with.

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