Some of those walking away from corporate jobs choose franchise ownership as a path to independence. Before he took that step, Atlanta resident Rich Groak, 52, spent the previous 15 years as a corporate accountant working for large telecom and data-services companies. Much of what he did was working with IT departments integrating data into accounts receivable in business acquisitions. The work had become repetitive and mundane, and Groak decided to make a change. He spent two years searching for the best way to do it. He found his answer in a house-painting franchise — 360 Painting. “I kept coming back to starting my own business, and 360 Painting fit the bill,” Groak said.