Congrats! You have worked hard and you’re ready to transition into self-employment. It is an exciting transition in your path on quitting your job for good. But before you go ahead and quit your job, there are some crucial steps you need to consider before taking the leap. Following these suggestions will not only make it easier when transitioning, but a happier experience for everyone involved.
1. Leave on a High Note
Think about how your boss would feel if you make a situation worse by being disrespectful. Sure, you may not like your job, but it is not fair to your coworkers or your boss if you are disrespectful when quitting. While you may have fantasized about telling your company how you really feel, but it could damage your reputation down the line, even if you are your own boss. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes: would you like an employee to treat you poorly or left a mess of their work that you have to pick up the pieces? Make it a point to be fully involved in your job up until the day you leave. That means completing a to-do list you meant to tackle, cleaning your desk, and keep yourself focused on your work.
2. Create a Financial Plan for the Next 6 – 12 Months
Being your own boss means that you won’t have a steady income. Before quitting your job, you need to think about what your budget is in order to cover the essentials. It is also a good idea to save up money in case some months or slow, or no income is coming in at all. To start, write down a list of all the expenses you have. Items you should factor in -Cell phone -Rent/Mortgage -Food -Internet/utilities -entertainment -existing debt -health insurance -transportation After writing down what everything costs, take that amount and make sure you stick to it. There are lots of budgeting programs that you can use, or something as simple as a spreadsheet document on your computer will suffice. They key is sticking to the budget you set for yourself to ensure you don’t run into any financial trouble while self-employed. It is a good idea to get used to your new budget by making one and sticking to it a few months (if possible) before leaving your job. That way, you have time to adjust it if necessary before you no longer have your job.
3. Make a Plan
Your side hustle may provide you with enough income to quit your job, but have you considered what you will do to continue your success? Think about where you plan on seeing your career in the next few years, and write your goals down. Create goals to market yourself and your business, how to retain existing clients, what your ideal career is like, and any personal goals you want to achieve. Make your action plan as specific as possible and what your success criteria is. For example, if you plan on hiring on a virtual assistant to help with some back end work, make a goal on how much income your business needs to make in order to be able to afford that VA full time.
4. Plan Out Healthy Habits and Routines
Making sure you are in tip top shape is important because you are now your business. If you are sick and cannot work, you will not pull in any income. Being unhealthy can also take a toll on your productivity and mood. Sure, you may want to skip lunch and finish writing that proposal for a new client or fix your website, but something that may take you 20 minutes to do may take a few hours if your stomach keeps growling at you. Now that you can dictate your own schedule, make a point to pencil in some time for exercise during the week. Find a workout buddy if you need to get some accountability. Even taking 15 minutes a few times a day to stretch will do wonders for your mood and health. Don’t forget that eating well is part of a healthy routine. Don’t stock up on too much junk food or frozen dinners even if it is more convenient to prepare them. Make a meal plan and freeze meals ahead of time if you know you will be too busy to cook. Enlist the help of family members if you need to in order to make your health a priority. Set reminders on your phone or calender if you need to in order to make sure you stick to a healthy routine.
5. Create a Backup Plan
As much as we’d hate you admit it, sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. Your regular clients may suddenly decide they do not need your services. Maybe your business is not pulling in a profit for the past few months and your savings are dwindling. Perhaps there is an emergency in your family and you have to put off your travel plans. Take a look at what your plans are after you quit and list and possible worst-case scenarios. Write down what you might do if these crop up. Make up as many scenarios as you can think of and create a backup plan for each one. Talk to as many people who have forged the same path you have and see what their backup plans are. It could be moving back in with mom and dad, taking on part time work at McDonald’s, or changing up your marketing efforts. As well, think about a time frame on when you will enact on your backup plan. What will be the deciding factor on knowing when your initial plans are not panning out? Clearly deciding on a success criteria early on will help you make those tough decision down the line.