7 Steps For Quitting A Job To Start A Business

Saying GoodbyeI started Ghost Blog Writers on the side in 2010. It really wasn’t even a business at the time. I was just doing freelance writing in my free time after work and on weekends. I didn’t have a name for it or anything.

But then in 2011 I formed the business and in the summer of 2012 I decided to quit my job and give it a full-time go.

Obviously there are many ways you could go about doing this. I’ll share some of the steps I did that I think are good to follow for this situation along with one or two that I might change or add to the situation.

Here we go…

1. Look At Your Personal Budget

Some people believe that it’s good to kind of overspend yourself as a way to motivate yourself to make more. For example, you buy a car that you really can’t afford to force yourself to figure out a way to make more money to pay for it.

That’s good if you have the right personality. It can obviously be dangerous.

In either case I think most successful businesspeople have a good mind for numbers. They like looking at budgets. They like knowing what they’re spending and what they’re making. They like knowing what they’re spending money on.

Before quitting your job it’s good to get a handle on your personal budget. Not always, but a good number of times when people are in the position to quit a job to start a business it’s good to cut back on a few expenses. Especially recurring monthly expenses.

Maybe cut the car lease and buy a $5,000 used car. Maybe cut the full blown cable TV. That kind of thing. It doesn’t have to be those two, but those kinds of things.

In the short-term there will likely be a few testy months with the new business even if it’s been running for awhile. Having a little cushion can be a big help.

2. Figure Out What You Want In Life

Before quitting, take a little bit to consider what you want in life. A surprising number of people don’t really take the time to think about this anymore. And it’s more challenging to find time to think about it today because during every quiet moment we take out our phones to see what’s on Instagram.

Imagine your life in 10, 20 and 50 years. Think about yourself at those ages. What are you doing? What will make you happy? What type of work will make you happy?

Then once you think you have an idea of what you want then think about why you want it. You want to make sure it’s for the right reasons. For example, you may want to live in a big house and you think business might be a way to get there. But doing anything for money can lead to a lack of fulfillment, especially business because there are a lot of down periods.

Go through this exercise before quitting your job because it can be a difficult lesson to learn after the fact.

3. Continue Doing Good Work At Your Job

While you’re going through the contemplation phase of things continue doing a good job at your work. I’m a believer that you should always do your best at a job no matter the circumstance. If it gets to the point where you really hate the job then it’s time to find a new job or start a business, but all the while keep doing a good job.

It’s short-term thinking to start letting your work slack. Sure, there will be times for everyone when their work ebbs and flows, but for the most part you want to do good work.

It comes down to your reputation. You want to be respected. You want people to say that you’re a good person and a good worker. You never know when that will come back around in the future.

Imagine a situation where you work in a small community. You start slacking at work and then quit to launch a local business. Your former employer will talk about your slacking work and that word will get around the area. It can impede your success at your new company even if you’re doing great work.

Industries and communities are small. You want a good reputation.

4. Once The Decision Is Made, Set A Date With Your Employer

Once you’re final with your choice to leave, I believe it’s good to let your employer know. Talk to them about your decision and make it final with some kind of date. This allows for time to discuss details. They may try to get you to stay and that kind of thing, but in any case it’s all out on the table. It’s just too difficult to continue going to work when you are 100% sure that you’re leaving at some point in the future. That’s not fair to anyone involved.

5. Be Kind & Courteous With Your Employer & Coworkers

I’m also a believer that you should always be kind of courteous in the workplace. For some it comes naturally. For others it’s more of a challenge. But I really haven’t come across a situation when it isn’t in your favor to act nicely in the workplace.

It gets back to your reputation and thinking about the long-term.

We all know the song, Take This Job And Shove It. It’s certainly easy to feel that way about a job. And the employer may even deserve that type of treatment. I was golfing with this guy one time and he talked about his previous job and how he “told his boss off the day he quit” and he was very smug and proud of the fact.

But to me it came off as petty. Why would I ever work with him if he treated his boss that way? Would he treat me that way at the first hiccup?

It takes courage to stand tall in the workplace, but those that are able to do it seem to have the most long-term success.

6. Train Someone To Take Over For You

Help your employer out as much as you can. You don’t need to continue going way above and beyond once you’re gone, but it’s worth taking some extra time to help smooth the transition over.

When you quit, there will often be someone that you will need to train to take over. Do as good of a job as you can to make sure you train them well. Give them everything you have. Over-communicate with them and be patient as they learn to do what you did.

And also don’t be offended if the new person starts performing your tasks and does them differently. Maybe they are a better fit for your former job. It’s not an insult to you. It might be further proof that your choice to move on is a good one.

Also, recommend a replacement if you have someone in mind. Current coworker. Colleague looking for a job. Leave your employer in as good of a situation as possible within your control. It is their responsibility, but it helps your reputation to help out.

7. Be Available For Followup Questions…Within Reason

Often, when you leave a job there will be followup questions. You may get an email a month after you leave asking where a document was or the replacement may ask how you performed a task. This will go on for a little while. Within reason, do your best to help out.

Again, it’s about reputation. You want to leave a good taste in the mouths of those you’ve worked with. Obviously if it reaches the point of taking you away from the work with your new company you’ll need to say no or delay responses, but give it a good faith effort to help out.

Final Thoughts

Leaving a job is no easy task. There are usually strings attached. It usually takes a little while to full cut ties, but that can all be okay if you follow the steps above. The biggest takeaway is that you want to make sure your reputation is as solid as you can control when you leave. That can lead to good things in the long-term for you on your new business launch.

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