How I Got Out Of The Rat Race

Disclaimer: I write all this from my perspective. Corporate America was not where I was supposed to spend my career. I know not everyone is called to be an entrepreneur, but it is pretty clear to me that this is a part of who I am created to be. So for those of you in a situation like mine, I hope this helps.

Why I wanted to get out

How I escaped the rat race to follow my dreams...A little over a year ago I ventured out into self-employment after spending much of the previous decade in the “Rat Race”.

For most of that time I was a glorified pencil-pusher in the corporate abyss of a Fortune 500 company.

I was a pawn in the corporate version of Henry Ford’s technological breakthrough: the assembly line.

I had a specific thing I was supposed to do each day.

Creativity was not required, valued, or even tolerated.

The corporate machine’s wheels were spinning and everyone seemed happier when you left “good enough” alone.

It was frightening to find myself in such a unique and specific role that my job title contained six words and no one outside my office would have any chance figuring out what it actually meant. The frightening part, of course, was that there might only be a handful of companies in the country that ever needed someone with the highly specialized batch of skills that my job required.

For some strange reason I actually couldn’t wait to finish college so I could get started in Corporate America. I had lofty ambitions and was itching to get started. It didn’t take long before I realized that Corporate America was not for me. I felt “cool” wearing a tie to work for about the first week. It was working in a skyscraper and being able to see the city (from my boss’ office). But before long, I would see the lawn-care guys outside and legitimately be jealous that I was locked up in my cage while they got to work outside.

The saddest part was seeing so many of my co-workers who had dreams of things they wanted to do, but because of fear they worked decades in jobs they hated. I saw so many who allowed fear and complacency to control their destiny. Rather than taking a chance on reaching their dreams they settled to become “lifers” in jobs they did not enjoy.

“If you won the lottery and the first thing you would do is quit your job, then you need to quit your job.” – Dave Ramsey.

I was in the same boat. Each day I saw myself looking more and more like some of those around me. I could so clearly see where I would be in 20 years if I didn’t make a change and it was scary and depressing. Yet I didn’t know how to change it or what to do about it. I wanted something so different for my life, but was on the wrong track to get there.

Now that I have spent over a year working for myself I can’t imagine doing anything else. For as trapped and held down as I felt before, I feel the opposite extreme of the joy of freedom. Just to be clear, self-employment has it’s own challenges and difficulties, but I honestly think they pale in comparison to what I went through while spinning my wheels in the Rat Race.

Step 1: I Started Something knowing that it might fail

This took me years to take this step. I finally realized that I just needed to start something, anything – if it failed, then it failed, at least I tried. I had to work to overcome my fear of failure, because it was paralyzing me.  I found myself spending way too much time trying to figure out the perfect plan even before I took the first step. The amazing thing is that as I started taking steps, the plan became clearer. It’s just like a horizon line. It stays the same until you start walking towards it. As you get closer you see things that you couldn’t see before.

I am a planning fanatic and think it is a critical component of just about everything, but for me I was excessively planning to the point that no progress was being made. It was like trying to map out each step of a hike on a trail that I have never walked on. I finally decided I was just going to start hiking the trail and when I saw log laying on the trail I would plan out my steps then. But there was no way for me to see the log from the trailhead – so I had to take that first step.

Starting a business

When I started this blog, my first financial goal was to make $100. I gave myself 6 months to reach that goal. I set a small goal because I needed to have a really good chance of reaching that goal. By reaching that goal, I would be inspired to keep going. Successfully achieving goals is one of the most motivating things out there. So I work hard to set attainable goals. Had my first goal been to make a full-time income from the blog I don’t know that I would have been able to stick it out that long without having the feeling of success that comes from reaching a goal (related: avoiding common mistakes when setting goals).

At the beginning I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to make enough from my blog to support myself, but I was very confident that I would be able to make some money and that was a step in the right direction.

It was something I enjoyed and was passionate about it.

I started a blog about personal finance because it was something I was interested in. I enjoyed figuring out how to manage my money better and enjoyed helping others do the same. I think it is important to mention that I didn’t write about personal finance because I thought it would be a profitable topic. I wrote about it because I liked it.

The corporate jobs that I was trying so hard to get away from were a result of me just getting a job because I needed money. If I would have started a business just because I thought there was money to be made with it, I could potentially be in a similarly depressing state – running a business just because it pays the bills.

I had been advised by enough people that I should, “do something I love doing and find a way to get paid for it.” This really is great advice. The rules are changing and now more than ever the possibilities of businesses to start is endless.

I worked at it part-time

An excuse that I often hear, and admittedly used myself for a while, is, “I don’t have time to start a business.” Up until the point I left my corporate gig, I don’t think I ever spent more than 15 hours in a week on the blog. And most weeks were from 5-10 hours. I used to devote one night a week to writing and would sit down for about 3-4 hours and try to write a few articles. On an average week I would spend 15-30 minutes each day on maintenance activities. The point is I was wasn’t working 2 full-time jobs, I just gave up a few hours of my week to devote to freeing myself from my 9-5. And since it was something that I enjoyed – it really didn’t feel like work at all!

A failed attempt

I should mention that during this phase where I was trying to ways to generate income, I tried a few things that failed. They failed because I realized that I didn’t really enjoy them. Most of them were making money, but I realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to do, so why keep doing it?

One example was an Ebay business I started (which you can read all about it: Step-by-Step guide to starting an Ebay business). I had an idea of a product I could sell (by the way, if you can think of it, you can sell it on Ebay) and so I decided to do a little test. I spent a couple hundred dollars knowing that even in the worst case scenario I would probably break even. I sold my products and was detailed in calculating my expenses so I could get an accurate picture of how much profit I made. After my test was complete, I calculated that I made $160 in profit from selling 6 items. From what I could tell I could have scaled this up as well in order to make much more if I wanted to. But that was my answer, I didn’t really want to. Like I mentioned above, I didn’t want to get caught up in doing something just to get paid again. I had already learned my lesson.

Starting a business should be cheap

Another one of my excuses that I used for a long time was that I didn’t have money to start a business. I always thought that you needed to borrow $250,000 from bank just to get started and then if it fails, you have to spend 10 years trying to pay for your losses. While there are still businesses out there like that, there are a whole lot more that can be started from your house for next to nothing. You can host a website for about $6/month with Dreamhost and find all kinds of free or cheap tools to create a website, online store, blog, message boards, or anything else. You can start an endless number of businesses from home spending only $15 on business cards. The days of having to risk a lot of money to start a business are over.

Step 2 – Lowered our cost of living to the lowest reasonable point

I am very calculated in most of my decisions that I make because I don’t like taking on unnecessary risk. But whether I like it or not, handling risk is a part of everyone’s life. Some people try (unsuccessfully because it is impossible) to remove any and all risk from life. And others seem to not to take risk into consideration when making any decisions. But it seems to me that the most successful people do a great job of balancing the two. But I digress…

I knew that stepping out into self-employment that there were elements of risk. I also knew that if we could lower our cost of living then we would be able to survive a challenging financial situation for longer than if we had a lot more expenses.

For example, if a family is accustomed to living on $5000 a month, they need a $60K salary to support that lifestyle. If by cutting expenses, and spending $1000 less each month they can now survive on a $48K salary.

Taken even further, if the business had a few months that only made $3000, an emergency fund of $10,000 (in our example) would last twice as long (10 months instead of 5 months) if they had cut their monthly expenses down to $4000 rather than $5000.

How we did it

When Rocky fought the Russian Guy he didn’t just sit around hoping that he would win. He worked out to prepare and get ready for the battle. Also, he didn’t only strengthen his offensive muscles, but his defensive muscles as well. He strengthened his core muscles so that when the Russian delivered a blow to his stomach it wouldn’t just destroy his internal organs. He could flex those stomach muscles that he had worked on and they would provide a barrier of defense.

I view the whole exercise of lowering your cost of living like Rocky working on defense. You know you are probably going to get punched in the stomach and it will hurt either way, but if you are prepared for it, it won’t be as bad.

In our case we had started a budget years earlier and had our expenses pretty well under control, but we scaled back even more. In preparation for the big transition we cut out just about all unnecessary spending for the previous 6 months. We spent very little on clothes, going out to eat, Starbucks and other casual luxuries. We cut back on just about anything we could, meanwhile taking all the savings and socking it away in our emergency fund.

Step 3 – Paid off all debt possible

After we got a decent chunk in our emergency fund, we spent the rest of the preparation phase paying off any and every debt we could. Like I mentioned earlier, we knew that every hundred dollars of monthly payments that we could eliminate would just better our chances of survival. Much like Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball, we paid off smaller debts, in lieu of larger ones with higher interest rates.  So for us, we paid off the remaining balances on our cars (thankfully there wasn’t much left), paid off multiple credit cards, and some of the smaller student loans.

By eliminating so many of these smaller debts, we were able to greatly reduce our monthly payments, and thus provide ourselves with a larger cushion. And while cutting back on our monthly expenses helped prepare us for starting the business, eliminating so many monthly payments proved to be even more valuable.

When you realize that getting rid of a $300 car payment can be enough to cover your groceries each month, you can start to see the potential.

Step 4 – Used time wisely

Employees in the Rat Race who punch a timeclock have little incentive to use their time wisely. As one of them, I didn’t get paid (or even rewarded) by performance – only based on whether or not I showed up. I guess if I did a bad enough job, they would have fired me – buy you get the point.

Working in an environment like this generally creates terrible time-management habits. Getting to go home was the incentive I had to finish my work each day – which, surprise, surprise, took 8 hours each day. But it was always amazing how we could supernaturally finish all our work in 6 hours – when they said we could leave early – if our work was complete. So just like Parkinson’s Law states that expenses rise to meet income, so to do tasks expand to fill the time they are allotted.

Learning how to overcome this challenge is a key to being self-employed. I still have tons of room to grow in this area, but thankfully have made some progress. The key for me has been to ferociously eliminate distractions and to challenge myself to get tasks done within an allotted amount of time. So I would look at something I need to complete and challenge myself to get it completed in a shorter amount of time. Without fail, I always get more done by doing this than if I just started it without a completion time goal in mind.

In my case, when I was officially working on the business full-time, I knew I only had a few months to start making it profitable or I would have to call it quits. So making the most of every hour was very important.

Step 5. Reinvested in the business

If I had not gotten laid off and had more time to grow the business part-time, I would have reinvested more of the profits back into the business. In theory if you have a full-time job that you are supporting yourself from, all the profits from the business would just be gravy.  So if you were making $500/month with the part-time business, I can’t think of better way to speed up the process of becoming full-time than investing it in your business. This is a much better idea than spending that extra $500 on clothes each month. ;)

Buying advertising to generate more sales, adding new products, or anything that would help the company generate more income seems like a great idea to me. I was able to do a little bit of this while we were in the preparation phase, but once you cut the cord from your employer, you now need that money to pay the bills – so you might as well take advantage of it while you can!

Final words

To reiterate, this isn’t for everyone. But, I know there are a lot more people out there like me – who were called to do something, but were bound up by fear. If that is you I encourage you to fight against it and try. We only have one life to live and we are responsible to use the gifts that God has given us. Remember the Parable of the Talents?

If you do decide to step out, pray and do it in God’s timing. Don’t just run out and quit your job – use wisdom and be patient, God’s ways seem to take a while sometimes. Plan for the worst case scenarios, and pray for the best case!

Have you escaped? What did you do to get out of the Rat Race?

































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74 Comments
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  1. Bob,

    I with you. The Rat-Race sucks! :) Great post!

  2. Excellent write-up, Bob. I have similar feelings about corporate America. I thought it was what I wanted when I was in the military and when I went to college. But the longer I spend filling out TPS reports, the more I realize I prefer entrepreneurship and forging my own path. Like you, time management is one of my downfalls, but it is something I am working on. And you’re right – part of the reason I struggle with it is because I don’t have any incentive to be more efficient at my day job. It’s something I struggle with.

  3. Great job on sharing your story, Bob! Thanks for taking the time to do this. You’ve packed in some great advice about how to prepare for transitioning from a corporate job to self-employment. This advice is good even for people who just want to make a little extra income on the side.

  4. This is a great post Bob. I have a fairly similar story, accept I was only able to last a little over a year in the corporate world coming out of college, even though I thought it was what I wanted. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I know exactly what you mean by “escaping the rat race.” The only thing I looked forward to every day was walking out the door of my work building. Thanks for the motivation to keep me working at my dreams.

  5. Your story here goes well with last week’s guest post. I enjoy hearing these success stories because they provide the (almost constant) encouragement I need. I particularly like the idea of investing profit back into the business. This is always a good strategy. Keeps the taxes down while expanding at the same time. Nice.

    Thank you for posting.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  6. I thank God for this post. It encourages me to see how God blessed you to be able to make a full time living online. It encourages me because I can relate with this post. Thanks for being so open and transparent. May God bless you and your business.

  7. Scott Cooper

    Bob,
    Thank you for this post. I’ve been casually reading your blog for a while and am convinced you’re reading my mind and blogging a/b what’s going on in there.

    Seriously though, reading a/b your experience really helps put a lot of my personal fears in perspective.

  8. Wow. This describes me exactly. I just left a corporate job at a Fortune 500 company after 2 years of realizing its not what I thought it was. Now, Im considering starting my own business but am trying to figure the perfect plan to start. After reading this, I am just going to start and learn as i go. Thanks I really needed to read this to see others out there in my same situation.

  9. Well done Bob.

    Your story is very similar to mine. I have been trying to make money online part time for a few years now. I’m getting closer and closer each day to pursuing my passions…thanks

    • Everyone – thanks for the comments – it’s great to hear that it is a topic that is resonating with a lot of us… I’ve been getting the itch to write a bit more about entrepreneurship on CPF, but have been somewhat hesitant because it may or may not fit on a PF blog, but I am starting to think that it may be a topic people might be interested in… more will follow…

  10. Bob, this is an excellent post.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story. I too want to be more self-directed when the time is right. I share the passion for writing on personal finance like you. It gets rough holding it up while working a ‘day’ job as well. I try to remind myself that this is a long term deal and I have to persevere. Hats off to you for getting out of the rat race. I hope to make my part time gig a full time gig some day.

  12. This was an amazing post. Very motivating, esp. for those of us who have a little bit of fear holding us back. :) Thanks!

  13. Excellent article, Bob, thanks for layout out the step-by-step foundation for your success. What I love about God is that all you really had to do was make the decision to change and He provided everything else along the way.

  14. It definitely requires courage to take the 1st step. I too found myself in a position where I was unsatified with my job. I finally was able to find a different job in a more positive environment, doing work I enjoyed. I’m still in employed by Corporate America, but the outlook is much brighter. Just want to give some encouragement to those who decide not to become entrepreneurs.

  15. These are excellent tips. I have been at my job for around nine years, and I was suffering from some of the “Rat Race” feelings earlier this year.

    I decided to focus on life outside of my job, and this led me to start my blog. The creative writing I get to do about building an extraordinary marriage is completely different than my “day job” of engineering. And the great part is that both roles complement each other and leave me feeling much more fulfilled.

    My new creative outlet and my ability to interact with such interesting people have made my engineering job fun again!

  16. i also do not want to be locked in a cage in a skyscaper and watch life pass me by. i made the same step but with a different fashion and the results have not really shifted to my favor but they will :)

  17. This is really one of your greatest posts. I recently decided to make the move myself from my current job at a large wall street investment bank. Haven’t done it yet, but preparing to do it so in March 2010.

    My final push came from reading Steve Job’s (Apple’s CEO) Commencement address at Stanford University. You might find his words extremely motivating: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

  18. I thought I was the only sucker who envied the lawn care guys or construction workers… who knew. I walk by them and think to myself “I bet everyone here thinks they’re just stupid blue-collar workers, but I’m jealous of their job and what they know, and how they get to work with their hands.”

  19. Bob,

    You hit it dead on. I didn’t start pursuing my dreams until one night standing in a parking lot with a co-worker at 10:30pm after working all day. I told him, “I am ready to fail at something.” I was so tired of the rat race and so tired at looking at potential business opportunities that I finally reached that point. Little did I know it was the first step that I needed to take to be where I am today. Thanks for the reminder!

    Jonathan

  20. By the way, I just wrote a post on my blog discussing the same topic recently for any of those who feel at the end of your rope. Bob is right when he talks about the importance of following what you are passionate about in life. I Have No Idea What I Am Going to Do – The Sinking Feeling

  21. Once again Bob you’ve done it and hit me where I live. By the day I feel my job taking life from me and it’s just more fuel to get going. Debt free in 45 days then, emergency fund, then freedom!

  22. Absolutely love the Dave Ramsey quote. I think part of my problem is starting tasks without a definite end time in mind. It seems like there’s so much to get done, but I know that kind of thinking leads to very little getting done. Although I’m aware I haven’t been managing my time as wisely as I should, reading step 4 felt like a cold glass of water in the face.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  23. Thanks for this article. Over the past year I have been thinking about stepping out of the Rat Race to do my own thing. I love my job functions, but the enviornment is less than desirable. If you would have asked me 2 years ago, I would have said that I had not intentions of starting my own company.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  24. Bob,

    It’s good to see your story and gain your perspective on running your blog as a business. I also had a tendency to over plan, which created a cycle of planning then more planning and resulted in no action at all.

    Then I bought a one way across the country, started my blog, and tried new experiences… This is by far the best, if not only way, to truly grow. I’m glad that my thinking is in line with someone with as much success as yourself.

    Best,
    Ryan

  25. The more posts on this subject I read by people like yourself, Bob, the closer I get to jumping off the Rat Race Express.

    Only a little more time and I may just get there – assuming I don’t get laid off first, that is. :-)

    Great article. Thanks for the insight.

    Best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

  26. Great article Bob.

    I found this on the December addition of “The Best of the Best of Money and Personal Finance” when I was notified that my article made the cut as well.

    Exactly what kind of business did you end up starting? It is definitely an interesting time. I would likely start my own business if I were laid off as well. As for now, I am still stuck in the Rat Race hoping to one day move on.

  27. This is a great article on becoming an entrepreneur, and very helpful for me. I have decided, after prayerful consideration and life experience, that God’s mission in my life is for me to become an entrepreneur, possibly from blogging. I’m doing the same thing in this article – focusing on school and a part time job, while working part-time on the side, with the goal of making a living from blogging. You are a bit further down the road than I, and right now I am simply trying to determine if God wants me to make a living through this blog or other means! Thanks for your experience though…very helpful!

  28. 75% of Americans hate their jobs. I agree the rat race stinks. Good article.

  29. This post is a great mix of personal story and how to advice. I plan to learn from what you’ve done here.

    Like others, the lawn care guy comment really resonated with me. When I used to work in corporateville I used to get jealous of a man who was around to come around the office selling speciality sandwiches. He had this basket of great food and a bag of change and while I’m sure it was hard work his smile and the relish with which he told me what he had to sell suggested happiness and freedom.

  30. Your so right, as our Lord Jesus Christ puts it sell what you have and come follow me.
    Remember that greater his he that is in you, than he that is in the world!.

  31. Bob, I would like to thank you for your post and informative blog. My wife and I are praying and investigating if God would like us to pursue developing a blog. I work in the rat race and have for over 20 years. God has supplied all our needs, but I have always desired to be self-employed. I grew up on a farm and enjoyed the freedom of being able to decide what needed to be done and when. We are debt free and only have one kid left at home. My wife and I have pretty different backgrounds and interests. She had a head injury in car accident and hasn’t been able to work outside the home, even though she has a Masters degree in Counseling. I have an Industrial Tech degree and worked in design and manufacturing my whole career. My wife has always wanted to use her knowledge to help others, but fatigue gets the best of her. Your blog has inspired us to pursue a blog venture together. I will be spending more time on your site learning in preparation for our venture. If nothing else, this idea has brought our relationship closer together than before.

  32. Thanks for the excellent article. It will serve as an inspiration for me. :)

  33. Matt Faulkner

    Dude, you are an awesome writer and have somehow generated an interest in finances in me through your articles and website that beforehand was nowhere to be found.

    And this article in particular is exactly what I needed to hear from God and am excited to take some risks soon in the creation of my own business. God bless you are your family, man!

  34. I can see by the many posts that I am not the only person showing up inorder to pay the bills and nothing more. I only work to keep my home (it’s nice to live indoors) and drive the car. The more I read and learn about finances, simple living, etc. the more I see that my needs are few. I only wish that I had known this at 20.

  35. Your story is awesome!

    I am on the same path as you. I knew from the time I was 20 years old and read my first business book that business was my destiny. I am 6 years into my plan and I plan to be fully financially independant by the summer of 2012. I think that anybody can do it if they put their mind to it!

    Cheers to all the people out there that think this way!

    Brandon

  36. Ashley

    Hi,

    I just came from praying and reading Gods word. Something told me to put in “God and Business” and this came up. I quit my job 3 months ago to start a graphic design and advertising business. I felt the holy spirit nudging @ me and I finally decided to go. So I quit. I’m now in my 3rd month and no sales or anything. I now want to run back to the rat race for some money. BUT because of YOUR website I know that I will try again. I’m putting the helmet on and brace because I WILL make it. God wouldnt put the desires or paths in place for me if not. I tell the Devil to FLEE. Because I will be make it. Read Psalm 115:14 Proverbs 22:4 God wants to increase the small business owners. To make us over and abundantly blessed in business and everything. Even at our own businesses as long as we put full faith in HIM. Each day I learn something new, about designing ads, about people, about money. That’s how I know that I am to do this. Well I was blessed by this. I will check back and pray for you, your fam, and your business. Take care and God Bless

  37. I worked as a directory editor for other people for 4 years. In February, I decided to start my own niche directory for the state of Oklahoma. My passion has not waned, but my fear of failure paralyzes me. I printed off #1 on here and I am hanging it on the bulletin board over my desk! This is me to a “tee.” I think it must be all planned out in advance or I don’t go forward. Well, it is official… I am hiking and the trail is not completely mapped out yet and that is ok!!! Thanks so much! I am subscribing to your blog. If you ever need a good editor, look me up! :) Onward!

  38. Rebecca

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for writing this article. It gave me alot to think about. I just retired and I am looking to start a business. Please continue to press onward.

    I’ve been at home now for a month and thinking after I went for a visit, I don’t want to go back to sitting for 8 hrs, but I need some extra cash. I’d like to travel and dabble into things I only dreamed of doing. Thanks again.

  39. The world rat race is invented by Robert Kiyosaki, I agree with your point of view. A nice read indeed. Please continue your work.
    thanks,

  40. Although not all my debt is paid, I lowered my cost of living enough to handle a very low income and got out nearly 3 years ago now. Debt is steadily being destroyed now and things are going great… If the rat race isn’t for you, you have to get out!

  41. I’ve strongly disliked almost every “job” I’ve ever had, but I love doing things online, and am slowly making money online. I hope to put things in place to produce ongoing monthly income to help support our financial needs. Great job on your blog! I agree with all your points about having to “stop planning” and face your fear of failure and just “start doing”.

  42. Bob,
    Enjoyed your article. We too have had the itch to be on our own. A little over a year ago we invested in a commercial piece of property which we’ve been renovating as we continued to work full time jobs. We only borrowed a small amount of money when the rains came and we found out that the roof was a seive.
    We haven’t finished all of the work on the building, however we did enough to open as of April. To date, the store is generating enough income to support itself and we have’nt had to dip into savings. Hubby got laid off his job in June, which was a blessing. He now runs the business and I still work full time. After work, I go to the store and work also. It’s been a long haul and we pray we do well enough for me to leave work as well.
    People tell us we are nuts to do what we have done. It was very scary and we still wonder if we did the right thing. The way we see it, we would never know if we never tried. So go for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Just do as Bob says and get you debt in order. When we started, we had no house payment, no car payment, no debt!! Life is good.

  43. Hey Bob,

    I think this is an awesome article, it is really what i needed to hear. I love your blog, wish i had found it sooner, but its in Gods timing not ours.

    Thanks

  44. R. Jones

    Do you have children? If so, how do you provide health insurance for yourself & your them. If not, any suggestions for those who do?

  45. This is a great article, since it illustrates a situation that tons of people face every day: a job they don’t like which isn’t fulfilling, and provides little economic security.

    Trading that for doing something meaningful can be a tremendous leap of faith, but it will lead you to become a different person. That’s what I’ve found in my journey from employee to business owner, and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s truly changed my worldview, from that of a dependent employee to one of financial independence and possibility.

    I started my consulting business over 4 years ago, and it’s truly changed my life as well as my family’s. I make more money, have more financial security, and more flexibility than I ever had as an employee.

    One of the best things about my journey has been teaching my kids (my son is 10 and my daughter is 7) about entrepreneurship. I’ve seen my kids shift their thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, and now they’re talking more about what kinds of businesses they want to have. That perspective is an amazing gift to be able to give my children.

    I blog about this on my website, where I show others how they can start and run a successful consulting business on the cheap.

  46. It’s so refreshing to hear people’s own stories about how they escaped the rat race. I’d also love to read more stories about people who love the rat race!

    Best, Sam
    * Highlighting this post in one of my wraps

  47. Great post! I was especially encouraged by the parts about waiting on God’s timing and not letting fear keep you from starting. As we’re starting out with our projects, it’s such a blessing and boon to remember to not allow fear to keep us from action as well as waiting on the Lord for His timing.

  48. Bob, I just read this article all the way through today, and it rocked.

    You have no idea how much this article means to me at this point in my life. I feel as if God is pushing me out of my day job, and directing me to go forward and take a few extra steps of faith – a new degree of glorious risk!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thanks for being a huge part of my journey escaping the Rat Race – I’m learning so much from you sir.

    John

  49. Hey Bob

    Thanks for the motivation I had a job driving trucks I was miserable. This is not why I wrecked a truck but it part of why I lost the job. I decided then I was not going to work for anyone again. I had a idea for years about a buisness, and like you said it was a low start up cost. Now Im going to get this done. Keep writing good blogs. Thanks

  50. Thought provoking post. I’m really frustrated with my job and just as you said, the fear of not being able to pay my rent and being broke keeps me working. I just created a blog (www.createyourfuturetoday.blogspot.com) with blogspot and I intend to monetize it with time and I also intend becoming a motivational speaker. My problem now is how to take action.
    Thanks for the post, it has really inspired me.

  51. Thank you so much for sharing your experince, It has opened my eyes to alot of avenues. Being that I was laid off last July I was thinking I really dont want to go back out into the “corperate world”. I have always wanted to start my own business and with that I know challenges and disappointment come. But thank you soooooooo much for sharing your experince. I love this site and visit it often. God Bless

  52. Stephanie

    This article was truly a blessing for me! I’ve felt this way for years and there was a pivotal point that happened on the job that confirmed that I need to stop running in my wheel and step out on faith. I’ve attempted to start my own business once and like you stated in the article, fear took a hold of me and I stopped. But, 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us the spirit of fear. It’s my season and I’m going to stop living in fear and live on the promises that God has for me. Thank you for sharing this and giving me the inspiration to do what I want! This website is awesome…God Bless!

    • Stephanie, I was blessed by this article as well. Like Bob, I recently stepped out going full time online. We have to push fear aside at some point and pursue our dreams! I already know it was the best decision I could make for myself. You can do what you love to do – and make money at it!

  53. This was a really great article. I can personally relate on every level. Very well said!

  54. I had to laugh when I read the part about you envying the lawn care guys who worked outside….that was me too! I used to watch the guy who’d get to ride the riding lawnmower all over my company’s campus and wanted to take his job so badly…

  55. Got out of the “race” 12 months ago. Just couldn’t keep up anymore. Had been legitimately unhappy for most of the seventeen years in it. Had reached my point of misery in 2004 which led to my termination after nine years with one particular firm. Had a non-working spouse, a newborn on the way at the time (still have them), and a mortgaged home five miles from the beach in North San Diego county. Have had negative cash-flow all but two months since losing job in 2004. I started the Christian walk thirteen years ago and just recently “got it.” (i.e. Full surrender to His will, not mine; Trust in the Lord….do not lean on your own understanding; ….the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,…..Against such things there is no law; etc, etc.); my spouse not so much unfortunately but that’s another story. Had become and still am very cynical about corporate America (large publicly traded corporations). Coincidentally like Bob, founder of this website, I am a personal financial planner with all the sexy licenses that big investment firms like to flaunt so that they can extract your money from you. In short, the firms had (have) less-expensive & less complicated products that will accommodate clients but insist on selling/pushing their more expensive and usually poorer performing ones. I couldn’t and can’t do it. Am bent on significantly reducing or eliminating people’s anxiety about the possibility of not having sufficient income or access to quality healthcare when they can no longer work and/or upon retirement. Though it can pay well, baby-sitting the wealthy’s liquid assets brings me little gratification. Have had this retirement income planning model on the mind since 2005 and without a lot of “assets under management” or a high volume of annuity sales, the concept didn’t seem viable. Left last firm 12 mos ago in as much out of burnout and management hypocrisy as for own business aspirations.
    Felt that couldn’t make my biz dream happen for many inherent obstacles in California so sold the home (at a 15% loss) two years ago and moved back to home state of Texas, but took a job with a big firm at the time just to lessen the transition burden. Was super miserable from day one there. Now twelve months after jumping ship, believe have found the right business model so that biz can sustain itself, feed the family, and legitimately improve people’s lives. Will make “house calls” to provide fee-based comprehensive financial plans ($450-$1200 each) that will focus and counsel people (especially current and aspiring retirees) as much as on spending wisely and where, as on appropriate cost-effective insurance products, and how best to manage their money so it serves them well and now. If is prudent to implement such plans with us, we’ll reimburse most or all of their financial planning fee. Is imperative that this is all done in a simple, safe, and easy-to-understand manner that is effective and gets results. This has all just come together about three weeks ago and has warranted a new website (that’s currently under construction) and hence more expenditures. So here’s the reality and the price being paid:
    Although have no debt, have gone through $360k in savings, retirement accounts, and cash value life insurance over the last seven years and only have enough left (in retirement accounts only) to last about another year at best. The wife currently is and has been terrified due to negative cash-flow for years prior to me jumping ship so she checked-out emotionally with me long-ago; we rent in a Dallas area suburb with a good school district for our 6yr-old son, I had been waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety virtually every night up until about a month ago before I had fully surrendered to God & JC. Over the last year, have made it a point to read scripture six times each week, write in a journal about it, have stopped consuming suger, caffeine, any processed foods and dairy (see http://www.paleo.com), and exercise regularly per His instructions. This has contributed tremendously to my belief that the business will work while lessening the anxiety of it all.
    It will take divine intervention indeed to make this business viable; but it has taken His intervention in virtually all that is “good,” especially in the design of we humans. God has prepared me for this and has put alot of the right people in place including my business partner and provided significant learning experiences for us over the last year that have contributed to the evolution of this business model. The business is in its infancy as it currently generates only about $1k/mo., but the model I am convinced now will work and is viable. Much more infrastructure work needs to be done right now before can be fully operational (should take six weeks; which means three months), but by obeying God and letting Him work through me with the intention of improving people’s lives financially, like Bob’s ChristianPF.com….I have tremendous hope and optimism. This isn’t me making this happen, it’s Him. He’s got a plan for me, and He does for you too. If you haven’t explored His word, if you’re at all intellectually curious do it at least from an academic perspective. He’s given us freewill to decide to believe in it or not. You have everything to gain by at least exploring! If you decide to believe, your potential will be realized, you’ll aspire to serve others, and you’ll never gain greater fulfillment.
    (I fell into Bob’s site just this evening looking for proof that tithing pays off for a prospective speaking engagement. Now am sure will use his site as a resource for my business. Once again, God at work).
    Galatians 5:22-23:
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    Psalm 91:14-16:
    “Because he (any human who) loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

  56. I love this post! I’ve been working ever since I came to America (12) in many neighborhood Italian restaurants run by family friends. It’s been 2 years since I’ve been working in a corporation. I use to like it when I was only the receptionist, decent pay and not many responsibilities, and I would love going to work. Then I got a promotion to an admin and I’ve been given way more responsibility that was entitled and I have been exposed to the evil side of the corporation and the things I hear and see are just awful. I’m almost 22 and I am proud of all the progress I have made alone in America with no help, but I can’t tell if I’m just being inpatient or selfish but I would love nothing better than to start my own small online business. Even something as simple as a tshirt shop since half my income is definitely spent at the mall each weekend. I am unhappy and it is so hard just quitting. But I love this article cause I can definitely start something on the side and maybe quit when I am seeing results. Sorry for the rant! I’m a fan though!

  57. Bob,
    Thanks for publishing this article. It’s great information and I think its probably more relevant today for a lot of folks out here than you may know.

    I work for a large non-profit in St. Louis, am fairly secure in my position, and am treated with respect and honor, not to mention very well taken care in regard to benefits and vacation. But I CANNOT see myself doing this the rest of my life.

    I love to write and I love to research. Even though I’m 57 and the future doesn’t look bright right now, in my heart I want to be a self-employed blogger and affiliate marketer and I know God is more than able to make that happen.

    Thanks again giving us a clear perspective to follow.

    Dennis

  58. Hi and thanks so much for this excellent article. We’ve been fortunate not to have to go to a J.O.B. in 14 years and we can relate so much to your experiences! It is so rewarding to be able to work from home and be independent and our goal is to help as many people as possible to be free as well.
    Your article inspired us very much and we hope we can share the “spirit” with all the folks we want to help :-)))
    Thanks again!
    Rob and Bea

  59. Hello Bob,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I have just recently found your post today by accident and oh boy, I am hype about the advice you have given. As non-traditional college student, I’m always looking for ways to make money, however, my biggest fear is debt, failure and money to start a business. But now, I’m taking steps by writing business, marketing and financial plan to start my business out. I also went about researching the pro and con of starting a business, and handling my student loan debt.
    Now, major business who are hiring wanted people who have 6-several years of experience on their belts. And for those who don’t have many experience, is being left out defending themselves by selling, or pan handling for money. So hopefully, now after reading about your post, I can try to handle my fears and go about doing some WAH jobs or start a blog like you did.
    Anyway, thanks again for the post.

  60. I want to get out too. I have a children’s book and novel I started and that’s what I would prefer doing with my time. But with a mortgage and student loans, I feel trapped. Thankfully I don’t have any children, because then I’d really be done for.

  61. mwalimubest

    I am thankful for this post. I may not be an entrepreneur but this advice works the same. Its been said its better to earn less doing what you love than earn more in what you hate. We should remember (as Christians) that its never about money first, but rather about the call of your life, what God designed you to do.

  62. Bob,

    Thank you. I am really stuck and trying to do something! This is really an article that inspires!

  63. Inspiring article for those of us just starting out! Thanks!

  64. I so enjoy your articles. I worked the 9-5 for many years, and finally started a house cleaning business. It is great that I can choose when I work and can be home for the kids but did I choose this business because I enjoy cleaning toilets? Nope. It was cheap and easy to start and you can make money easily. Its been about 4 years now and I am already burning out and considered going back to the 9-5 rat race.

    I am also a newly born again Christian and enjoy writing. So I decided to start a blog, not even realizing that you can actually make money from writing blogs. I have prayed continuously for God’s assistance in deciding what I should be doing, what is my calling. After reading a few of your articles I feel this is what I was meant to do with my life. Help others while doing something I really enjoy, while also making a living to support my family.

    So I am going to give it a shot, I still have my house cleaning while I build my blog and write my articles. I just pray that I am going in the right direction this time. That this is what God has called me to do.

    Thanks again for your insight, you really helped me to realize that it is possible to make a living doing something you enjoy rather than what you feel you need to do for that paycheck.

  65. This is by far and away the best blog I have ever read!

    I have been on the verge of quitting my job for a few months now and have been anxious to work out when to do it and if I should do it. You have just given me great confidence in the answer to both, thank you!

    James

  66. This article is great. I too have no desire to ever return to the corporate rat race. I treasure my individuality and freedom too much! Technology has made it more possible for men and women to be entrepreneurs and I enjoy everything I do as an entrepreneur. God has blessed me. I currently work as a journalist, actress, dating website owner, piano & vocal instructor, and home-based business owner of a company distributing products for relationships. Life is good! I feel that way now, but when I was working in corporate life I was miserable alot of the time, wanting something more than just the seemingly shallow superficial facade that everyone has to put on when they have a boss watching. I hope your article inspires more people to embrace entrepreneurship.

  67. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. I am actively working iwth my husband to exit the Rat Race – for all of the reasons you have listed. I have let fear and perfectionism dominate my decision making matrix for too long, and have been ignoring my decade long desire to start and run my own business! Your encouragement was a big step for me to continuing embracing what I believe is my God-given identity as an entrepreneur. Thank you!

  68. Hi. This is an excellent article, and a topic I’ve been desperately searching for, for years. As an artist, I’ve lived with the pressure of having to look for work, and even when I have found it and worked for some time, deep down inside, I hated every moment, but could not find a better way to get out of this. Even now, I am currently unemployed, and barely able to write a novel and a collaborative comic.

    I’ve been bombarded with constant interruptions to cater to the needs of everyone in the household, almost as though I did not have a life of my own to tend to. At the end of the day, I am too tired to focus on anything productive. but when I tried to be productive, my folks seem to have read my mind and suddenly call for me to do them “favors”. I don’t mind being a blessing, but they have the worst timing in calling for my help, and I feel as though I have to respond to them at a drop of a hat. Mostly because I don’t have a job.

    As an artist and a writer, It takes a long while to get my focus and concentration back, and by the time I barely manage to get that focused frame of mind, all of a sudden, it’s like my folks could read my mind and decided to call for me, persistantly, and I have to drop what I’m doing all over again.

    The problem is, they may not think that practice in drawing and creative writing is as important. And I’m having a very tough time trying to explain how important it is for me. They just don’t get where I am coming from. So I’m in a frustrating situation where I just don’t know how to get out of it. I’ve tried several avenues but nothing seems to work for me. I’m at my wits end. I don’t know what else to pray for. This has gone on for years and to this day, I’ve been patient.

    I won’t give up fighting the good fight, but I wish I had a better idea what to do. I’d considered blogging, but once again, I get interrupted, and I can’t focus long enough to plan for anything. I just don’t have the strength and energy to do anything else most of the time.

    I’m surrounded by folks and even spiritual family who seem to think the rat race is the only way to survive. This is the only article I found that helped confirm what I’ve felt for years. At first I thought I was lazy and didn’t want to work, but that’s a lie. I love to work hard doing what I love to do. I love to write, draw and even compose music. I play keyboard at my church. but that’s as close to doing what I love as it may ever get. I can’t seem to make a living off of my own talents. I feel pressured into doing retails and jobs that has nothing to do with the talents God gave me, and it frustrates me. What good is my talent if I can’t use it? I could barely squeeze in enough time to practice just to get better, without getting interrupted. This was my sentiment many times.

    Regardless of how hopeless my situation appears on the surface, I am still strongly determine to break through and take the inheritance that is rightfully mines. Just writing my comments here alone, is my act of faith. As soon as I post this, the Lord is already working on a way out for me. Don’t know how, but I’m still fighting, even if I have to punch my pillow to keep my fighting spirit up. I barely have a prayer closet and may have to spend some nights at a friends house just long enough to strengthen my prayer life. Even my prayer life is getting interrupted, and that’s my oxygen, my bread and butter of connection. I need my prayer life more than anything! And I could barely focus without being called again at the worst timing. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. But I refuse to give in. I’ve made it this far, and I’ll keep pushing for as long as there is still breath in my body! God gave me a purpose, and it is no mistake that I have my talents, and I am determine to use them productively, even if I have to break every mountains like a human juggernaught. Thanks for this article. I guess I’m just looking for people to connect with that I can relate to.

    I have a small group of friends who felt just as trapped as I am, and we have worked on a collaborative project to start our own business as artist. Some of them are working a job, and are convinced that they need to keep that job to make it through, and I’m still fighting to find a solution to this, so I can say to them, there is a way out of the rat race. So far I haven’t the faintest idea how to escape. I just know that there is a better way. And the rat race wasn’t for us. I’ve always known this deep down in my heart but I just don’t know how to communicate this without sounding as though I was making excuses not to work or help anyone. As an introvert it’s very difficult.

    Sorry for the lengthy wall text, but please pray for me and my small collaborative team. We’re trying to do something different out of the norm, and for the moment, we’re our only support in this matter. Our church love us, but we don’t know how to communicate to them of this matter especially if they simply don’t understand us. We can only pray and hope. At the moment, we’re proceeding to do what we can without their knowledge until we have something to show for. I like to call it “Going Black Ops”. XD

    I have to show my small artist group this article. This is great. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I really thought for a long time I was the only one who felt this way.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comments. It’s a miracle that I manage to write this much without getting interrupted this time. I just got called for another “favor” as the folks are in a habit of saying so often. So I’ll just post this now. God bless.

  69. Tony R

    Bob (and all),

    I just discovered this blog and I’m glad I did, as I write this I am in a corporate job that is practically killing me. It’s a mismatch and I thought I wanted the management job in corporate with the salary and the title. The thing now is I have a family depending on me and that makes it harder for me to make the leap. I have a new business that I’m trying to get off the ground but no clients yet. I am trying to be patient but each day in this ‘cage’ is crushing my soul. I pray God makes a way soon, I will never work in corporate again. Lesson learned.

  70. james Collister

    A good read, not only the post, but the replies.

    A bit older than most of the posters, but like many never enjoyed, for long, working for the man. Changed jobs [ not a corporate man ] just jobs and countries, but in the end it was the same, go to work, pay bills.

    One day while sitting in my nice house in Australia, with my nice mortgage, drinking nice red wine, I knew in 20 plus years, if I lived that long, I would still be there doing or retiring from a crap job.

    Sold up with no real plan, just get away and get a life.
    Now I am sitting typing this, listening to the sounds of the jungle after a rain fall in the jungles of Issan near the Lao Cambodia border.

    Took a chance, gambled all and made it, not a life for most, for very few in fact, but it’s my lost horizon [ being yanks you will need to Google that.

    You get one go at life and you don’t win fair maidens with a faint heart, as they say. Go and enjoy the experience, it’s a roller coaster ride and memories are not made in a 9 to 5.

    Name and Thailand will find me on Google. Jim
    As A PS it’s taken 4 hours to post this, no net in the rain.

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