5 Things to Do Before You Leave Your Paycheck Job


I made the decision to leave my paycheck job in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions in recent history.  After ten years, my passion for my work as the executive director of a small business incubator had run its course. I knew that others would be happy to be in my position, but I knew in my heart it was time for me to move on.

That feeling grew along with a sense of insecurity. Almost daily another newly unemployed individual told me of the disillusionment and betrayal they felt toward their former corporations. I began to plan my departure. I wanted to gain some measure of control by knowing when I would separate from my organization. I gave myself two years to get it together.

When I announced my plans to my sisters, they enthusiastically encouraged me. My husband, on the other hand, expressed extreme concern.  He had retired two years earlier and I had assured him that I would continue working until I reached retirement age. I still planned to continue working; I was becoming self-employed. That revelation only increased his anxiety.

As I continued putting my plan in place, I learned a few things. Here’s my advice to you.

  • Put six months to a year of living expenses away. You can’t take a salary from a new business for a while. We changed our lifestyle and put every penny into a separate account.
  • Tread gently with your spouse. It’s not just your lifestyle that’s changing, but his/hers, too. You may be willing to make the sacrifices to start your business, but don’t assume that your spouse will joyfully eliminate cable TV and vacations.
  • While you still have your paycheck, establish a line of credit with your bank. When you become self-employed, it will be too late.
  • If possible, begin working in your business part-time while you still have a paycheck. This will bring funds needed to get started and you’ll already have a customer base when you strike out on your own.
  • Put in writing what you intend to do , who your customers will be, why they’ll do business with you and how much money you believe you can make over the first three years. Putting your ideas in writing will keep you on target when the going gets rough.

Two years will fly by rapidly. Don’t waste a moment.

Mildred Walters, a life coach to business owners in Nashville, Tennessee, has clients all over the country.

1 thought on “Biz

  1. Lori Johnson

    I’d like to eloborate on your point two of your points.

    First, tread gently with your spouse. This is extremely important because you’ll need that support. Others may not support you however when you have the backing of your spouse then you’ll have more courage to change. When at odds you may end up feeling like you have to choose between self employment or marriage. who wants that.

    That being said, if you really feel that being an employee is affecting you deeply in a negative way then you must still tread or keep going in the direction of your desired change. Prayerfully, as your spouse sees you moving ahead they’ll get on board. If not then your job is to repesctfully keep asking for what you need and the time you need to get going.

    And, decide what you can tell your spouse about working your business. If you are married to someone who does not have the stomach for all the ups and downs of business then definitely be gentle with what you share.

    The other is point 5 to write it down. I’d add that you should write down your face to face networking plan. A lot can be done from your computer screen, however, at some point you need to meet new people and form collaborations. In the plan write down the two networking associations where you will invest the most time.

    Thanks for this fabulous post.


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