So, you’ve decided you want to start your own business. Congratulations! Are you itching to hand in your resignation and get to work on your empire? Not so fast! There’s always something useful you can take away from a job (yes, even the worst jobs out there) to give you a headstart in your business. Don’t spend your last days of employment watching the clock, instead make sure you do these five smart things before quitting your job to start a business.
Export your email contacts list
We can promise you one thing: when you start setting up and running your business, you’ll remember that amazing man or woman you met in your last job who has the skill set, knowledge or contacts you need. And sod’s law says that when you try to track him or her down, you’ll find they have no online presence.
Don’t leave things to chance, instead make sure you export your full contacts list and email it to yourself before quitting your job to start a business. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are setting up a business that competes with your current employer’s, make sure your contract does not forbid you from collaborating with contacts from your current job.
Save, copy and take any important documents
You never know how your boss will react when you announce that you are leaving. We’ve seen it all before. Some employers may put you on gardening leave, lock you out of your emails or even escort you out of the office the second you hand over your resignation. If you have documents (that belong to you – we don’t advocate theft!) that will help you with setting up your new business, make sure you grab a copy for yourself before telling anyone you’re quitting your job.
Line up freelance work if you need it
If you need a little money on the side while you set up your business, grabbing some freelance work from your current employer is a great way to do this.
We’ve found that you can maximise your chances of being kept on as a freelancer by your employer by taking on a leading role in a big work project that will continue way past your last day at work. By doing this, you will be invaluable to the project and your employer for however long it takes to complete it… even if the project is expected to end after you’ve officially finished with the company.
Make use of any work benefits you haven’t used yet
Running a business is going to take every last penny you have, which means that luxuries like gym memberships and essential big-ticket items, like dental root canals, will be hard for you to fund once you start living the entrepreneurial life. And with many employers offering great benefits like dental and health insurance or gym memberships, make sure you take advantage of all of these while you can.
Have a heart to heart with any colleagues who can help you in your new business
You may feel like you need a clean break from your current job, but if your plan is to do your time and leave without telling anyone about your new business, you’re missing a vital opportunity. If you know that some of your colleagues have knowledge or skills you’ll need to make use of, it’s worth setting some time aside to schmooze them a little before you leave. Whether it’s a coffee date, lunch (on you, of course) or an after-work trip to the pub, take an opportunity to let them know what you’re leaving to do and that you’d love to stay in touch with them. This will make them more likely to respond and help you out if/when you reach out to them weeks or months down the line.
Did we miss any vital things you must do before quitting your job to start a business? Let us know in the comments below.
Trying to figure out your next career move?
Sign up for our weekly Get Unstuck emails. They will walk you through your stuck moment and give you the advice and tools you need to create the career you want… one week at a time.