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Important steps to take before you quit your full-time gig

I was miserable at my job. I had been contemplating going full time with my own work for a while.

Many years ago, I successfully launched and managed my day-of-wedding coordinating company, Just For the Day, while working my day job, and had been in deep thought about starting a public relations firm. I can do it, I would tell myself. I’ll just quit and figure everything out. I did what I considered to be my due diligence by checking my bank account, retirement account and stock before making the move. On October 15, I walked into my manager’s office and handed in my three-week notice. I was relieved and felt very good about my decision… at the time.

Some would say I made a very foolish move, especially since I am a single parent. In hindsight, I could have planned for a “safer” departure and should have waited until I had a few more things in place.

So, for those considering or preparing to move away from “employedpreneurship” (people who have their own side hustle but also work full time for an employer), here are four important things to consider before taking the big step.

1. Save more than enough money.

We have all heard that everyone should have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses saved. If you are starting a business, you will need more than that. It’s relatively inexpensive to start a business these days, but there are standard start-up costs. You will first need to take care of administrative tasks, such as registering your business (cost and process varies by state). You will also really want to invest in marketing.

2. Network and build relationships before you quit.

Finding clients is tough and it takes time. I thought that once my website was up and I posted on Facebook that I was open for business, clients would just come running. Not so much. It took me almost three months before I got my first “real” client. Before you take the plunge, start networking with people within your industry. In the entrepreneur world, people are surprisingly collaborative and open to idea sharing and partnerships. These relationships also create a great referral system for help on projects.

3. Get rid of any unnecessary debt.

If you have debt, get rid of it before you start working for yourself. It makes your business and personal life much easier. Depending on your business, you may need to take out a small business loan, and to do so you will need to show that you have a good debt-to-credit ratio. It will probably be a while before you start booking clients, and even then it will take time to collect payment from them.

4. Secure as many clients as possible.

Before you officially walk out of your employer’s door for the last time, make sure that you have some work waiting for you. This will make the transition into entrepreneurship much easier than it would be if you started out with no clients. Not only will you have work, but it can be used to show potential clients what you have done and what you are currently working on. Both add credibility to your brand and your business.

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