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Thinking of resigning?

Thinking of resigning?

Make no mistake; one of the most stressful aspects of deciding to start your own business is giving up the job you’re in. While the job that you have may not be the job that you want (and let’s face it, if it was, you wouldn’t want to start your own business at all would you?) it stands to reason that you will have qualms about quitting a job that offers you a salary and benefits, to resign and go it alone to do something that you may not necessarily feel the benefit of for weeks – if not months or even longer!

Ditching security

It is easy to say that you only live once, and of course that’s true, but before you are happy to resign from your job you do have to consider all of your responsibilities; a family, rent or mortgage and bills to pay. It’s easy to feel trapped in a job because you have to take these things into consideration. Helen Keller once said “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” and only you can decide whether to stay or take a big jump into the unknown and start your own business.

The reverse side of the coin is that there is a lot to be said for setting your own goals, making plans and achieving them. If you really are serious about your will to resign your current job and start your business then you will be passionate and work really hard to achieve your dreams. You’ll be motivated and you’ll eat, sleep and dream about your business. Do you do that in your current job?

You don’t have to be reckless of course. The more planning you do before you resign to start your business the easier the transition. Time and time again I say “manage your expectations”. Be realistic. What can you expect in the first week, the first month, the first year, the first three years?

Feel the fear and do it any way!

Feel the fear and do it any way!

We all live with a certain amount of fear and when taking on a business it’s only natural to fear failure or to fear going broke but if these fears hold you back you will never do anything extraordinary with your life. If you had no fear you would dive in and be really happy to be doing it, you wouldn’t worry, you wouldn’t be tentative. Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear” and this is what you need to do when you make the jump from your job to your business – master your fear.

Master your fear

Feel the fear and do it anyway to plagiarize a term in modern parlance. People with courage still feel fear but they don’t let it paralyze them. Avoid avoidance behaviour – you know that stuff you put off until tomorrow all the things you could be doing today – listen to that nagging voice that doesn’t want to settle for a 9 to 5 in a dull or OK job but wants you to motivate yourself. Sometimes your mind can be so full of stuff – words, contradictory arguments, “I should do this, I should do that, what if etc. etc. that what you need to do is reduce all that clatter to just a single word or two. What is your inner voice telling you to do? Leave? Quit? Resign? Sell? Move on? Let go? Learn?

Take a deep breath. It’s time to move on.

Once you have made the decision to resign from your job, do not let the doubts creep back in or like Rory McGrath and his recent wedding shenanigans you’ll be backing out of your decision faster than the proverbial muck off a shovel. Do not let others into your head – especially those who suggest you’d be crazy to resign from your job. It’s not their business – it is your business.

Time to write that letter!

Time to write that letter!

Writing your letter of resignation

Resignation letters are remarkably difficult to write – a) because your emotions are probably playing havoc with your courage when you are planning to resign and b) because what the hell should a letter of resignation actually say? Well the answer is to keep the letter simple, positive and professional. I resign is pretty much all you are saying!

What to Include in Your Resignation Letter
It is most professional to send a letter on paper but you can also email. You do need to be totally professional and formal in an email as well as the letter however (no text speak!)

1. You are leaving
2. The date you would like to leave
3. A sentence thanking your employer for all the opportunities you have had during your employment and for all that you have learned.

Once it's done you'll savour the freedom!

Once it’s done you’ll savour the freedom!

Those are the only three things you really need to include. If you do wish to mention WHY you are leaving, be sure not to be disparaging or negative about the company or the individuals who work there. This letter will go on file and if you ever need to use the company as a reference you want to be sure that they have nothing held against you. Besides it will do you good to reflect on the positives of the job you are leaving – you will have learned new skills and you may even have the ability to recognise what can be done better by other companies – such as the one you’re just about to create!

Other rules of thumb when you wish to resign

• Give ample notice. You may be contractually obliged to give between 2 weeks and 3 months so check that out with HR first.
• Be respectful and courteous. Language should be simple and without emotional. Write like a robot. How you feel is none of their business – be professional.
• Keep the letter short and concise. Leave nothing to interpretation.
• Don’t get your co-workers involved, i.e. by asking them to help with the letter, or broadcasting loudly that you are leaving. You may spread negativity and this will not be well received.
• Use your best English. Spell check it and have it proof read. Never use slang or foul language.
• Do not give specific reasons for leaving. It’s better to be generally vague and say you are moving on to take up a new opportunity or pursue other challenges.
• Any future employer may see your resignation letter.
• A resignation letter can be used against you in a court of law or tribunal.
• You should resign to your direct report, manager or department head.
• Don’t tip off others that you intend to resign. Your boss will not like hearing that news via the grapevine.
• Hand the letter over first thing in the morning – it will weigh less on your mind and you’ll have the energy to deal with it better.
You should do it face to face. All you need to say is, deep breath, “Jo, I want to let you know that I will be leaving [insert your company name] to [find new pastures/challenges/start my own business/ take a sabbatical]. This has been a tough decision to make. I’ve had a great experience here but I believe this is the right decision for me at this point in my career. I hope we can stay in touch.” That’s it! Do not over egg the pudding.

Free to start a business chasing meeces!

Free to start a business chasing meeces!

Maintain your courage
After you last day don’t immediately go home and turn the alarm off. Embrace your new life with energy and throw yourself into your business. Schedule your time productively. You left that job so that you could do this – so don’t spend all day in bed, or playing games or watching rubbish daytime TV. Your business won’t succeed that way!

Also if you start procrastinating then you will panic because you are not achieving anything. This panic will tell you that you’re failing and your courage will wane and disappear. So avoid this vicious circle and get going!

Example Letter

To Whom It May Concern: It has been a privilege to work for [insert your company name here] for the past 3 years. Please take this as my two-week notice. My last working day will be on [insert date].

I will always be grateful for the valuable experience and practical lessons that I gained while working here.

Yours respectfully


[Insert your name]

Tell us your resignation stories – we’ll be interested to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. Comment below or come and see us on Facebook 🙂

3 Responses to “Quitting time: How to resign from your job to start your SME”

Karl BaxterMay 23rd, 2014 at 9:31 am

Quitting my last job was one of my hardest decisions I have had to make, after 11 years working for a famous Boat Building company the time was right for me to move on and start Wholesale Clearance UK, but I had lots of reasons to stay, and was very apprehensive to leave, a good friend and work colleague gave me a great bit of advice that I have used countless times since handing my notice in. Gary said to me “don’t put off something that’s worrying you or holding you back, take the plunge and just do it, your fell like a great weight has been lifted”

On my last day my supervisor came over and said ” Your be back within a year! when you fail or the tax man catches up with you. ” that comment has spurred me on ever since!

Good luck to anyone that’s quitting to start there own company 🙂

Thomas MatherJune 3rd, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I’ve just started trading using stock from your site
Which is fantastic by the way

Could you give me some pointers on trading successfully??


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