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I Quit My Job Exactly 2 Years Ago…

I Quit My Job Exactly 2 Years Ago…

Exactly 2 years ago today was my last day at my corporate job as a Business Banker with Wells Fargo.  As I reflect back on where I was a couple of years ago, and where I am today I feel like I'm in a completely different spot.

Like many of you, I went to a University and got a degree.  I graduated from Brigham Young University in 2002 with a degree in Business Finance.  I then spent the next 9 years working for “the man”.  I had lots of great experiences and co-workers, but the itch to become an entrepreneur was there from the very beginning.

Even while I was in college, I tried a few different business ventures, but never really got anywhere.  I created my first website in 2005 (if you can call that ugly thing a website).  I worked full-time and got my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in the evenings from Arizona State University from 2005 to 2007.  Quickly realizing that an MBA does not equal immediate success and fortunes, I started dabbling in business ideas again.

In 2009, I decided to build small little sites focused on just one subject (small niche sites).  I could go into all details of how this worked, but I've covered them here and here and here already.

Lets just say these sites were VERY well!  Within a couple of years, I was making more from my “side” business than my full-time job at Wells Fargo.  After saving up 6-months worth of living expenses, I told my boss I was quitting my job.  I remember that conversation vividly.  My palms were sweaty and I had been thinking about the meeting for weeks.

I walked into my bosses office, shut the door, told her that I loved working with everyone there, but that I was quitting.  I didn't drag it out, just let her know frankly that I had some websites doing well and that it was time for me to leave.

I was very worried that she would be upset or make it difficult; however, my she was extremely happy for me!  She could see that I was excited about my business and although she was losing me as an employee, she was happy to see where I was headed.

I actually ended up working a few more weeks after I told her, rather than the standard 2 weeks.  So, my last official day was March 11th, 2011.

How has the entrepreneur lifestyle been?  I wouldn't change it for anything now!

I certainly put in more hours some days than I ever would at a corporate job.  But I also have the freedom to take longer vacations, or work different hours (when I want to), than I ever could at a corporate job.  And it doesn't hurt that my bank account is healthier now as well!

But at the end of the day, I get to pursue projects that I'm passionate about and am in control of my own future.  If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur…I HIGHLY advise it!

The past 2 years have had its ups and downs, but my concerns and stresses in life are SO very different now.  I used to think about what I wanted to do with my career or wonder if I'd ever find a business that worked for me.  Now I think about how to grow my business or how to create something that will have a real impact.  (I think I've accomplished that with Long Tail Pro already, but I'm always thinking about other opportunities as well).

I could go on and on about all the great things the last 2 years have done for me and my family; but I'll just end here saying that I truly am living what I had dreamed about for so many years as I worked in the corporate world.  What will the next 2 years bring?  Stick around, and we'll find out together…

60 Comments for this Post

  1. Vic Dorfman

    Vic Dorfman

    BYU, eh? Are you a Mormon Spencer? Just curious…I grew up with a lot of mormon friends in Jacksonville, Florida. 🙂

    So 2 year anniversary. Feels good I bet. To be in control of your life, sharing your poetry with the world in a creative way, no cubicle, no office politics and no hours.

    I’ve been full time in Internet Marketing for about a year and for the past 7 weeks I’ve had the time of my life traveling around Thailand. I could die tomorrow and I’d go out with a smile.

    You plan on doing any globetrotting? I seem to recall you mentioning in a post that you traveled with your girlfriend at some point?

    Best Wishes,
    Vic

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I sure am. BYU is usually a good giveaway :). I don’t travel much, but would love to. (I’ve been married for just over 10 years and my wife and I have made it to Hawaii once…and that’s about it for traveling 🙂 ).

      • Bradley

        Bradley

        I have lots of LDS family on my grandfather’s side who went to BYU. Awesome school from what I have heard. They live in the Idaho area.

        Congrats on your 2nd year as a free man. Knowing a little bit of your story from other posts, I am always reminded of it when I sit down for chats with my own Wells Fargo business banker.

        One last thing… I know traveling with kids can be challenging, but you should try to do more of it. My wife and I still have 3 kids living at home, so we purchased a minivan to “road trip” more comfortably. So far it’s worked out well. Last summer we finally visited Mount Rushmore for the first time ever! Much like launching a niche site, just do some research, set a budget and then take action… You will love it!

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Thanks Bradley! Traveling with kids can be challenging indeed :). We have 3 kids, and do a road trips a couple times a year to Arizona or Oregon coast (or other places); but we don’t do much “real” traveling outside the western US.

  2. Theodore Nwangene

    Theodore Nwangene

    Hi Spencer,
    I love your decision and the route you followed. The most important part of the whole thing is that you didn’t regret what you did that 2 years ago, so here is thumb up for you.

    I’ve also worked as a manager for one company but never liked the job, so i had to quite too. Although I’m not making much yet from my online biz, but I’m still very proud of what i did knowing my efforts here will soon start paying off really well.

    The decision is always ours to make, whether we want to achieve a Financial Freedom or Whether we want to keeping on Craving for Job Security. Its all our choice man.

    But myself, i love being an entrepreneur and thats what i will be.

    A great journey bro.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Theodore…and best of luck with your ventures!

  3. Mike

    Mike

    That’s awesome Spencer. To take that step into the unknown takes real courage and it looks like it has worked out very well for you– a move from corporate employee to a leader in your field. Very cool.

    I hope to do the same, though I’ll at least (hopefully) have the backing of a solid first-career retirement income to take away some of the risk.

  4. Darnell Jackson

    Darnell Jackson

    Congrats on your anniversary Spencer,

    It’s a whole new world when you “eat what you kill” as a soloprenuer.

    Once you realize that you are making the money for the company and they are paying you less money than you are creating it’s really an easy decision.

    It’s hard as hell to make it out here though thanks for sharing your inspirational story.

  5. Financial Samurai

    Financial Samurai

    Good stuff Spencer! I’m coming up on my one year anniversary of engineering my layoff soon. Amazing how time flies.

    Will you be still writing your income reports for this year? Also, any plans on doing a net worth report to see how income translates into wealth?

    Cheers,

    Sam

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I haven’t done an income report for over a year now, so probably don’t plan on starting again.

      • Financial Samurai

        Financial Samurai

        I think it’ll be insightful Spencer, so we can understand how your success has grown!

  6. Nick LeRoy

    Nick LeRoy

    Congrats Spencer on making it two years! I’ve been very fortunate to do SEO as a full time position so i’ve been able to work in an industry that is my passion… then on top of that can go home and work on niche / authority sites. It’s almost a double win… though I do aspire to get rid of clients as some point. Just gotta wait for a couple more sites to pan out!

    • Financial Samurai

      Financial Samurai

      Hi Nick,

      I’m fascinated with SEO given Google seems to really push to marginalize SEO and even the playing field.

      Can you give us a sense of whether you think SEO jobs are growing and what type of income a “top 25%” SEO person makes a year?

      Thanks!

      Sam

      • Nick LeRoy

        Nick LeRoy

        Hey Sam,

        SEO salary really depends on a lot of factors. Where do you live, do you work at an agency, in-house or are you strictly consulting? Salaries can range from 30K for entry level all the way to 100K+ for top 25%. Of course your skill set and proven success goes a long way.

        As for the job market. Its absolutely booming here in the midwest. With marketing budgets at an all time low – many companies realize the value and ROI on internet marketing. Regardless how the algorithms change over the years the need for internet marketing as a whole will always exist.

        Good Luck!
        Nick

        • Financial Samurai

          Financial Samurai

          Very interesting Nick. $100,000 is not bad at all for being in the top 25%!

  7. Brian Dean

    Brian Dean

    Happy anniversary, Spencer!

    I quit my job a few years ago. It was definitely scary at first. But it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  8. Travis

    Travis

    I definitely want to be the next to follow in your footsteps. I am sick of my job right now.

    But with all of the Google slaps and panda/penguin updates that keep rolling out it just seems less likely by the day that Niche sites even work anymore.

    To me it seems like people are making their money from selling the tools to people who believe they can be successful with Niche sites. Kinda reminds me of the California gold rush where the only people getting rich at that time were the businesses who were selling shovels and other tools to the miners.

    Can someone please convince me that money can still be made in affiliate marketing? Im having tons of doubts lately.

    • Financial Samurai

      Financial Samurai

      Try not to quit your job. Get laid instead!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Travis:
      Perhaps your view of affiliate marketing is to narrow. Lots of companies and individuals do very well with ad based revenue (and affiliate marketing). Here’s just a few: HuffingtonPost.com, Bankaholic.com, Gizmodo.com, smartpassiveincome.com, GardenRant.com, and every others news site or blog you can think of (facebook too 🙂 ). Then there are individuals like me that own dozens of “niche” sites that do the same thing, just on a smaller scale.

    • Mike

      Mike

      Same as the precedent post, and your respective comment, I’m with you on this one as well. Word by word.

      There was a SERP change spotted on March 6th, Spence’s new experiment was obviously hit, and finally Matt Cutts said there will be a major Panda update rolling this Friday (15th) or Monday(18th) with the biggest to date Penguin update coming on May this year (see searchengineland article).

      Yet I see no reaction from Spencer to all this.

      Weird.

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Mike – I’ll be doing a full post on this subject. But my site has just bounced back from the penalty you saw. I know exactly what it was, and I fixed it (and it had nothing to do with any Penguin/Panda update at all). Bounced back in less than 8 hours once I fixed the issue. I didn’t comment earlier because I don’t like to over-react with new sites…looks like I’m back :). I’ll have an in depth post before the end of the week.

  9. David Michael

    David Michael

    I love hearing about success stories like this that are so…. recent. It feels more “real” for some reason when I realize that people like you and Pat Flynn have had all this success, but it wasn’t all that long ago that you started on that journey.

    Here’s hoping I get it figured out as well!

  10. Jon

    Jon

    Great post Spencer. Slowly but surely it is possible to create an online portfolio. Thanks for all the advice and tips.

  11. Jared Romey

    Jared Romey

    Congratulations on the anniversary Spencer. It’s been a little over 8 years for me since I left my last corporate job (my division was eliminated when the company was sold) and it was the best thing in the world for me.

    After leaving the job, I started a bricks and mortar company that 8 years later is still growing strong. Two years ago I jumped into an online presence with a hobby of mine. I’m still working on how to make the online hobby convert to a full-time business but am advancing. Your articles are great for helping me achieve that, thanks.

    And as a personal note, travel more, you’ll never regret it. I’ve lived in 5 countries and spend a whole lot of time traveling. It’s taught me things about myself I would never have discovered, introduced me to close friends around the world and continues to keep life new and different all the time.

    Again, congrats,

    Jared

  12. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr

    Big props, Spencer. The major difference between you (and your brother, by the way) and 90-something percent of the people who write in and say “I wish I could” and those who “do it” is just that … doing it.

    Nike may have unintentionally coined one of the most cogent life guidance themes ever … Just Do It … and they thought they were just selling sneakers.

  13. Neale @livinginthailand.net

    Neale @livinginthailand.net

    Spencer Congrats on your 2 years 🙂 I thought you had been at this for much longer Kudos

  14. Tung Tran

    Tung Tran

    Happy anniversary Spencer!

    Your story is amazing and inspirational.

    I’ve just dropped out of college to working full time on online business so that I really need encouragement and inspiration 🙂

    Been doing IM since I was at grade 11 but don’t have big success like you. This year would be different!

    Thank you

    Tung

  15. Mizan

    Mizan

    Hi Haws,First of all congratulation to you for fulfill your goal,what you targeted .Which is so inspiring.I love to work free.Something of my own.Wish you all the best.

  16. Romuald

    Romuald

    Congrats Spencer !
    That’s cool to share and I hope that we all your readers can do the same. I haven’t qui my job yet but I will for sutre. Hopefully I will have the same future 🙂

  17. Steve

    Steve

    Great job Spencer! I think we all love to hear your story of leaving your job! Im sure you like telling it too!

  18. Mark

    Mark

    Spencer I’m curious to know what proportion of your income is from Niche blogging and selling LTP tool versus the actual Niche sites themselves.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Mark:
      I don’t discuss my income much here. However, 100% of my income when I quit my job was from niche websites. I had no products and my blog was not much to speak of at that time. For about the first year after quitting my job, my income was all niche sites (over six figures). I’ve since created long tail pro and of course have niche pursuits, so my income has obviously gone up; but niche websites is still where it all started and I actively earn from and build new sites.

      • Quinton Hamp

        Quinton Hamp

        Glad to hear that you quit while only receiving niche site income.

        I’m resigning in a couple of weeks, but most of my income is still from niche sites. There is a side of me that worries about their stability.

        So we’re doing a “partial” quit: The wife picked up a part-time gig, and I was able to land one day a week working at a local bicyle shop (one of my hobbies).

        I’m scared, but confident it will give me the hours I need to bring the niche sites up to full speed, as welll as to begin pursue some of my other ideas.

  19. Mike

    Mike

    Congratulations to you, Spencer for having to be able to work for yourself and do what you love.

  20. Carl

    Carl

    Happy Anniversaniche Spencer!

    I am sure I am not the only one who has read this today and thought…. This time next year….I´ll be quitting my job and joining him haha!

    It seems quite timely that you have started your Survival Knife project and inspired a lot of people including me to build their first niche site on such an anniversary, Lets hope that March 11th can be a day many of us celebrate as the day we quit our normal job in pursuit of an alternative happiness!

    Here´s to the future Public Holiday of World NIche Day :o)

    Big congrats mate!

    Carl

  21. Carl

    Carl

    Oh, and I made €5.55 in the first 7 days with Adsense and 0.06 with amazon affiliates. :o) Not life changing, however in years to come I may look back at this post and realised this first payday actually did change my life!

    The CPC on my first click was 0.98 and then dropped almost every click to an all time low of 0.08. It has risen today to 0.59 and I have no idea why the fluctuations are occuring. At this stage I am not too concerened, just happy that I am getting clicks on a website I consider to still be in the very early stages.

    Thanks

    Carl

  22. My Money Design

    My Money Design

    Congratulations on the 2 year anniversary of being free! You and I graduated college roughly right around the same time, so this gives me hope that all my efforts could eventually grow into something more. Please do keep up with the NSP updates. I’m learning a ton of great stuff from your lessons!

  23. Dave

    Dave

    Congratulations! It’s a great motivator to hear stories like this. I’m just starting out with blogging and am still kind of learning the ropes but this is eventually the goal.

  24. Iain

    Iain

    Gratz on hitting the two year mark.

    I’m so happy that you have been able to do so well with all of your sites.

    Hearing a good success story can go a long way in terms of encouraging people.

    I know that when I hear one I get encouraged to do better.

    I’m working to try to get to somewhere in the area of where you are. One day, but not at the moment.

    I look forward to your post about the forthcoming updates.

    Iain

  25. Tom

    Tom

    Two years, that’s great. It’s even better you were able to do the online business and exceed your pay at WF. What were you doing online? I’m sure I saw it before but don’t remember.

    Tom

  26. Jerrywhyte Obamwonyi

    Jerrywhyte Obamwonyi

    great one brother, your story stories so far have been so inspiring

  27. Chetan

    Chetan

    Congrats Spencer… You inspire so many of us here. Hope you double your success this year.

  28. Steve Wyman

    Steve Wyman

    Hey Spencer,

    2 years hey, time flies.

    Enjoy the climb

  29. paul

    paul

    nice stuff spencer , how many niche sites did you have when you quit your job and were they just adsense sites or affiliate sites

  30. Jude

    Jude

    Congrats Spencer!!!! You are an inspiration to all of us!!! I’m just a newbie and still learning although I created 4 niche sites and one of them is already on page one of Google and currently earning Adsense. Hope to create more and reach the point where I can depend on this financially fulltime. I’ve been using your great LongTail Pro keyword tool. I love it!!!

  31. Paul

    Paul

    Hi Spencer,

    Congratz on your second anniversary! I am on the IM market since 2010, last year I quit my job for this, but I made a mistake: I sold my best website that made me the income. Since a year and a half a have done two local e-commerce business, I invested a lot and the things did turned out so good. These days are my last change for doing things right, so I started with a niche website with your mentoring.
    I have two kids that need a lot…

    You inspire me, some days ago I thought if it is wiser to go back to work – because my kids need stability. But I gave to me another six months to succed in IM!

    Sincerly, Paul from Romania.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Best of luck Paul! And there is nothing wrong with getting a job to pay the bills…especially when you have a family. You can always do IM on the side if needed.

  32. Van Nguyen

    Van Nguyen

    I’m doing a Google search and I jump into your blog accidentally! Thank you for sharing! I quit my job as a banker several months ago. But I didn’t have my own business so I spent several month on being unemployed!
    Quitting your job is a difficult and important decision! Sometimes I think people need to take risk. I have just started a new job with belief in a better future! 🙂

    Good luck with your business, Spencer!

  33. Daniele

    Daniele

    Congrats!
    I’m looking forward to the day I’ll be able to look back with the serenity you have.

    I quit 10 months ago the rat race, I love what I’m doing but still struggling big time to do a decent living.

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  36. Quinn

    Quinn

    One of the greatest moments in every entrepreneurs life is when he is able to fund his future ventures with the money made from his past ones. Congrats on having that moment, Spencer.

  37. John

    John

    How does Long Tail Pro compare to Market Samurai?

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