man holding box with office things after quitting job
From expressing gratitude to offering flexible notice, experts give their top advice to budding entrepreneurs leaving their full-time jobs. — Getty Images/LightFieldStudios

Working a 9-to-5 but planning your escape for the entrepreneurial life? You’re not alone. Many aspiring business owners start their careers at day jobs, while simultaneously building their business in their free time.

If you feel you’re ready to pursue your side hustle full-time, you might be wondering how to break it to your current employer. We asked entrepreneurs who have been there for their best tips to help you quit your job — the right way.

Don't burn bridges

It might be tempting to cut all ties with your boss and colleagues, but doing so could be detrimental to your career.

“Although oftentimes we think of quitting as telling off everyone, it's important to actually stay positive and on good terms with your soon-to-be-former boss,” said Simon Nowak, CEO of 3 Credit Scores. “You never know how things will turn out, and leaving them as a potential reference and a place to maybe return if necessary is always a good idea.”

Even if you harbor some sort of resentment toward your old boss, you’ll want to remain as cordial and professional as possible in your exit. You never know when your connections with your prior employer might come in handy.

[Read: 5 Healthy Ways to Manage the Stress of Being an Entrepreneur]

Thank your boss for all of the support, guidance and opportunities to learn that have come your way.

Holly Knoll, business coach and creator of The Consultant Code

Express gratitude

When an employee decides to quit their job, they often dwell on the negatives they faced while working there. Instead, focus on the benefits you’ve reaped from your employment.

“Whether you liked the job or not, you did have a job and that likely made your life at least a little easier,” said Nowak. “Saying a quick thank you will spread a little good will around.”

Start your conversation by expressing how appreciative you are of the company and all they’ve done for you. Beginning on a positive note will lessen the blow you’re about to deliver.

“Thank your boss for all of the support, guidance and opportunities to learn that have come your way,” said Holly Knoll, business coach and creator of The Consultant Code. “Express appreciation … for your experience working under their leadership.”

Set boundaries

So, you’re quitting your job for a chance at entrepreneurship — but your boss doesn’t have to know that.

“When you're leaving your full-time job to pursue your own business ... you don't actually have to tell your boss why you're leaving,” said Kathryn Roberts, owner of coaching business Quest for $47.

When Roberts left her full-time position to focus on growing her business, she declined to disclose the details of her departure with her boss, despite his inquiries.

“When it comes to leaving any job, making that conversation as short and as painless as possible should be your priority, and most of that will depend on your relationship with your direct supervisor,” said Roberts. “If you're comfortable with going into the details, go right ahead, but if you're not, know that you don't have to.”

Be flexible

If you want to stay on good terms with your soon-to-be-former employer, give them as much notice as possible and be mindful of how your departure might affect them.

“Because you are leaving to do your own thing, chances are you can be a bit more flexible [than] the standard two-weeks-notice period,” said Knoll. “Perhaps give your boss a little more room to find a replacement and work with them on exit timing that doesn't leave them completely in the lurch.”

Document your daily responsibilities and be open to training others to do your job, so you’re not leaving your company empty-handed. Additionally, if you find you have extra time to answer questions or offer advice once your notice is up, consider lending a helping hand here and there.

“After your departure, offer to be available via phone or email (you set the boundaries) for questions the team may have,” said Knoll. “If it makes sense for you, you could even offer your services to be a paid advisor or consultant on an as-needed basis.”

[Read: The Step-by-Step Startup Guide: How to Start a Business]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published October 08, 2019