2 min read

Pre-Quit Checklist

Pre-Quit Checklist
Photo by Jessica Lewis 🦋 thepaintedsquare / Unsplash

I was lucky enough to have a small side gig turn into a big client, a situation that allowed me to launch into self-employment somewhat hastily. While everything has been OK so far, I probably moved a little too fast.

Here's a checklist that will help you make sure you are prepared to leave your full-time job and start working for yourself.

  1. Savings: 6-12mo savings that is not the rainy day fund nor any retirement savings. This needs to be looked at as actual emergency payroll for yourself and won't put anything else at risk financially if you use it. In my case the savings was the rainy day fund. While that's better than nothing, it's the wrong fund to lean on during low business cash flow.
  2. The right motives: Boss driving you crazy, co-worker(s) driving you crazy, impostor syndrome creeping in, etc. These are not primary reasons to start a business. You need to "fix you" if these are your primary drivers for quitting, otherwise you'll be feeling the same things but MUCH WORSE on your own. You'll have the same issues AND be scrambling to make ends meet. Nothing is worse than that. Along the same line of thinking, don't indulge any fantasy that you leaving your job is going to "prove some big point" or force a big change with your employer, LOL. They will keep marching along without you. You will be forgotten quickly and you'll be the one in pain if you're not prepared, not them.
  3. Signed contracts for the next 6-12 months that cover 80-100% of your current gross income. If you're temporarily leaping into consulting like I recommend, don't take the leap until you have contracts covering the foreseeable future. Pretty obvious step but needed.
  4. Don't forget about the additional FICA tax obligation, you'll be paying the "employer" and "employee" portions of FICA now.
  5. Accounting firm hired and in place to advise you on quarterly tax pre-payments, retirement, etc.
  6. Business checking account opened.
  7. LLC established, EIN number assigned and in hand.
  8. Business credit card opened, to handle any SaaS system subscriptions, etc. to run your business.
  9. Domain name registered.
  10. Corporate email all set up and tied to your domain (I recommend Google Workspace for email/etc.)
  11. Basic website in place. I use Framer and I love it.
  12. Cash flow ups and downs somewhat mapped out. You could call this a cash forecast. E.g. if you've got a quarterly tax pre-payment due before a certain client pays their large invoice you'll want to map that out a little.
  13. A plan for how you will set aside time and focus to develop a product or productize what you are doing. Ultimately we want to create something sustainable unless you want to be in consulting forever. Be sure to prioritize this plan as without it, you may as well just keep your job unless you really love consulting.
  14. Basic accounting software to push invoices and track expenses, I use Freshbooks though you could use whatever you want.
  15. A standard SOW template (statement of work) and MSA (master services agreement) to use for current and future contracts. You can modify these on a case by case basis.