Working a 9 to 5 job and being stuck at a desk all day is not for everyone. The truth is that most people are not happy at their corporate jobs unless they are actually doing something that they truly enjoy or are in a healthy working environment. You’ve probably thought about quitting a bunch of times and just venturing out on your own. But before you decide to take such a big leap, here are a few things you should take into account before quitting your job to finally work for yourself.
1. Have the Talk with Yourself
You will need to ask yourself why do you want to do this? What is the worst-case scenario? Coming to a decision is by far the hardest step, because we have the idea of needing to work and make a living embedded in our minds. This may vary whether you are a young single 25-year-old associate or a 45-year-old with a family, both scenarios should be weighed differently, and both cases have different financial needs. Weigh out the pros and cons, and if you are starting a business or doing freelance work, then you should weigh out the pros and cons of that as well.
2. Money Is Your Cushion
The number one rule before quitting your job is to have enough money saved in the bank. Although you do plan on starting your own business, you will also need to take into account that some businesses do have slow periods where little to no money will come in. Additionally, you should also have enough money to cover your monthly expenses, to avoid any issues down the line.
So how much money should you have saved? That all depends on your monthly expenses and varies from person to person. The standard amount to have saved is about 4-6 months of expenses. This will allow you to have more cushion and lessen any financial worries you may have so that you can focus on your business. Also, it is important to note that starting your own business does cost money and you will need to take that into account as well.
3. Build Out Your Portfolio/Business Plan
Although quitting a job can be quite nerve-wracking, you will still have some comfort in knowing that you will be working for yourself. So, use this time effectively to ensure that all your business endeavors are successful by either building out your portfolio or writing out a nice business plan. By doing this, you will get an idea of how much you can potentially make, and you will also be able to figure if this is something you truly want to do.
The goal here is to have a full vision of what your future can be. Not only will you have your vision written on paper, but you will also have a small portfolio that you can pitch to clients if need be. By being prepared in this stage, you are already one step ahead, and you can quit your job knowing that you do have something to work towards and you are not just quitting on a whim.
4. Tie Up Loose Ends
Since you are making plans to leave your job, then you should use this time as effectively as possible. Use this time to tie up any loose ends, such as making doctor appointments while you are still on your company’s health insurance. You can also use the last few paychecks you will receive to pay off any debts such as credit cards, or a chunk of your student loans if you have any.
Your goal in this step is to make sure that on the last day of your corporate job you do not owe any money to anyone that is not considered a monthly expense. Since you do not have an idea yet of when you will be receiving any income, you want to make sure that you have a clean slate. This step is great to help ease up any financial insecurities that you may have.
5. Leave on Good Terms
The worst thing you can possibly do is leave your job on bad terms. You do not want to burn any bridges with your employer, because you never know when you may need them in the future. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you leave your company on good terms:
- Give Sufficient Notice: Do not quit your job abruptly. The standard time for giving notice of resignation is two weeks. However, if you have a higher-level position, I would suggest giving about one month’s notice, that way your boss has a plan for your replacement.
- Offer to Help: Do everything you possibly can to make sure that there are no loose ends when you leave. If you are working on a large project, try your best to finish it, and if you cannot finish it, then make sure you leave detailed notes for your replacement. You can also offer to help train your replacement if he/she is hired while you are still at the company.
- Ask for A Recommendation Letter: Once you have given sufficient notice, have offered to tie up any loose ends, and have trained your replacement, now is a great time to ask for a recommendation letter. Although you are planning your own business and will ultimately be self-employed, it is still good to have a reference letter from an employer on hand just in case you’ll need it one day.
Now that you have done these key steps, it is now time for you to leave your job and begin working on yourself just like you envisioned.
Congratulations! You finally took a big leap that will send you down a path to live the life you have always wanted to live as an entrepreneur. Although this may feel scary and uncertain at first, just know that so long as you follow the steps provided you can feel secure enough to continue working on yourself until you have finally made your big break with your business. Just remember that when you begin to have that shred of doubt in the back of your mind, just think about the many CEO’s that went on to do great things, and how they probably started off in the same spot you are in right now.