When it comes to advice on quitting your job (to pursue your dream, reach a personal goal, or whatever else it may be) the words can sometimes be pandering at best.

But pursuing anything outside of the established construct of a nine to five can be terrifying.

That’s why I decided to ask 7 former corporate professionals who left their jobs to start something new, to share the advice they gathered in hindsight. Years after leaving corporate America, most of them have more clarity and few regrets.

Turns out, breakthrough advice- on any subject– is simple. It is straight-forward, actionable, and maybe even life-changing. Some of the examples below are from former lawyers, HR professionals, auditors and more. They have different backgrounds, but all shared a desire to do something different and made a plan to get there. Here’s what they want you to know:

“That tiny part of you that’s saying “NOT THIS” every morning as you drag yourself into the office – that part knows what’s right for you. Listen to it. Trust it. Follow where it leads. It knows what it’s doing. No amount of rationalizing is ever going to convince your heart that something is right for you when it isn’t.”

What they learned in hindsight:

“One thing I never thought about is the importance of surrounding myself with like-minded individuals early on. Leaving a traditional 9-to-5 is becoming more normalized but it’s still revolutionary in some circles. When your inner circle is made up of people who are deeply committed to maintaining the status quo, you can feel alienated, even judged at times. Building a network of creatives, people I can call when I need a boost, especially ones who are also corporate escapees, has made a huge difference for me!”

-Nicole, C-Suite to Life Coach


“Those skills you mastered in your corporate life– time management, meeting clients deadlines, ability to pull all-nighters, negotiation skills– will come in handy in your creative career, so don’t imagine you’re leaving your past career entirely behind.”

What they learned in hindsight:

“Save more of your corporate paycheck as it will make the transition to the creative career you desire so much easier if you’re not sweating to land a client project or speaking gig or book advance.”

– J. Kelley, Finance Attorney to Author 


“Make the switch sooner. Juggling a full-time job and a small business on the side is stressful. I unnecessarily drew out this stress by delaying making the switch because I was scared of living life without a steady paycheck.”

What they learned in hindsight:

“Working in the corporate world, I always had a pretty ergonomic workstation set up for me.  Now, working from home full-time, I’ve grown to understand the importance of a good office chair. I didn’t really think about that when I made the leap from corporate to creative.”

-Logan, Corporate CPA turned Blogger


Trust yourself, know that you work hard and will be successful in whatever you do.

What they learned in hindsight:

“I never thought about what was really possible. I was very much in a box and with an opinion of what success looks like. Now I am always looking for what is possible and new ways to challenge myself.”

-Vikki, Corporate Sales turned Anxiety Coach


“I was very frustrated with my career in my 20’s and it wasn’t until I started my own business that I started to feel like I was having success. I wish I would have started earlier rather than looking for a corporate job to give me what I was looking for.

What they learned in hindsight:

“I have so much more time because I no longer spend an hour in the car every day. Early on, I used that extra time to work more and build my business. Now, I use it to have more time with my family.”

-Marc, Auditor turned Blogger 


“Relationships are gold. Start developing and fostering them as soon as possible. Even though my work is done in solitude, making connections is really what advances my business forward time and time again.”

What they learned in hindsight:

“I didn’t understand how powerful momentum is until I got caught up in it. Being able to continuously build upon successes still amazes me — and I’m getting better at attracting and pursuing opportunities with that in mind.”

-Laura, HR professional turned Freelance Writer


“Have three months’ salary in the bank. Then, take the leap. The longer you stay in a corporate job you don’t like, the duller you get, and the harder it is to break through the resistance and inertia.”

What they learned in hindsight:

“I’m an introvert, and I tend to think of “working independently” as an opportunity to spend more time alone, away from idle office chit-chat. But when it comes to doing creative work, it’s extremely important to stay connected and be as social as you can manage. You’ll communicate more effectively and your work will connect a lot more if you’re adept at banter and building rapport.”

-Emerson, Communications Manager turned Copywriter

How to Create A “Quit Your Job” Fund

One of the best ways to quickly build your savings is to use a high-interest savings account. Call this your “Freedom Fund” or “Quit My Job Fund”. Whatever you decide to call it, you’ll need it for emergencies, big purchases, or a way out of a situation you’re looking to change.

When it comes to a great place to park your money, options abound.

CIT Bank currently has one of the highest interest rates on the market at 2.20%. BBVA also has a high-interest savings account currently at 1.9%. Be sure to review all of your options and open one today (before these rates go away) so you can start your freedom fund now.