The transition period between resigning from your 9-5 job to starting your full-time freelance career is an exciting one, often filled with anticipation for what’s to come. However, resigning from your job to become a freelancer requires careful planning and execution.
In this guide, we will explore the essential do’s and don’ts to consider when resigning from your job to become a freelancer, ensuring a smooth transition into your new independent career. By following these guidelines, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and strategies necessary to make a confident leap into the world of freelancing while maintaining professional relationships and safeguarding your future success.
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✅ Do Give Proper Notice and Maintain Professionalism
Most employment contracts contain clauses regarding the required notice period for resignation. Common notice periods include one full calendar month or three weeks from the date of resignation, and must be adhered to in order to prevent potential legal repercussions (depending on your area) or a tarnished relationship with one’s employer.
Regardless of legal requirements, it is common practice to adhere to the notice period stipulated in your contract. This will help to preserve your relationships with your previous employer and colleagues, which could prove helpful in the future.
By honoring the notice period, you allow your employer ample time to find a suitable replacement or make necessary adjustments to workload distribution. This not only helps the company maintain productivity but also reflects positively on your reputation as a reliable and responsible professional. Remember that even though you are leaving, the way you handle your resignation reflects on your personal brand and may impact future professional opportunities.
❌ Don’t Burn Bridges or Speak Ill of Your Employer
Maintaining a civil or friendly relationship with past employers can be useful in the future. For example, future clients may contact them for references, and will be deterred if they hear that you were impolite or unprofessional when resigning from previous positions. Statistics show that nearly 50% of adults in the US have Googled someone before doing business with them, so your reputation is of utmost importance.
While it might be tempting to vent frustrations or voice grievances during the resignation process, it is crucial to remember that burning bridges can have lasting negative consequences. Instead, it is advisable to maintain a positive and diplomatic attitude throughout the resignation process, regardless of any challenges or frustrations you may have experienced in your full-time role.
Focus on highlighting the positive aspects of your experience, the skills you acquired, and the professional growth you achieved. Emphasize how these factors have prepared you for the freelance journey you’re embarking upon. If you encountered difficulties in your previous role, exercise tact and discretion when discussing them. If need be, confide in close friends or family members that are not associated with your previous employer.
✅ Do Communicate Your Decision Clearly and Concisely
Be sure to communicate your intention to resign clearly and concisely, without any room for misunderstanding. Typing out a well-thought-out resignation letter can help to communicate your intentions to your employer. This letter serves as a formal notification to your employer, clearly stating your decision to resign, the effective date of your departure, and any relevant details required by company policy or your employment contract.
Offer to have a face-to-face meeting with your supervisor or employer to discuss your resignation, and be sure to thank them for giving you the opportunity to work for their company. Acknowledge the professional growth and skills you acquired, as well as the support and mentorship you received. This shows your appreciation for the organization and helps to leave a positive impression
❌ Don’t Neglect Your Remaining Responsibilities
Your employment does not terminate the second that you hand in your resignation letter; fulfilling your duties and responsibilities until your last day of work is crucial for maintaining professionalism and preserving the reputation you have built within the organization. Sometimes, you will also be asked to train your replacement or create detailed handover documents in addition to your original responsibilities.
Neglecting work tasks or leaving projects unfinished can disrupt workflows, create unnecessary stress for your colleagues, and potentially impact the overall success of ongoing initiatives. It may also reflect poorly on your work ethic and reliability, which can tarnish your professional reputation and hinder future references or job opportunities.
To ensure a smooth transition and minimize any negative impact when resigning from your job to become a freelancer, it is crucial to properly hand over your responsibilities to your colleagues or your replacement. Take the time to document procedures, provide clear instructions, and offer any necessary training or guidance so that your replacement may transition into your role easily and without complication.
✅ Do Prepare Financially and Establish a Safety Net
When resigning from your job to become a freelancer, it is essential to have a financial safety net in place to navigate the initial period, which can involve uncertainties and fluctuations in income. Before you transition into full-time freelancing, sit down and calculate your monthly expenses as well as how much you are able to save before your resignation. It is common practice to save a minimum of three months’ salary before leaving a job, but this depends on your financial state.
Moreover, it is crucial to have a realistic understanding of your expected income as a freelancer. Research your industry rates and market demand for your services. Consider your experience, expertise, and target clientele when determining your pricing structure. This knowledge helps you set realistic income goals and make informed financial decisions.
If possible, spend time freelancing part-time before quitting your job. This can help you to establish yourself in your industry, get a feel of what freelancing will look like, and prepare financially for the transition.
Template for a Good Resignation Letter
Dear [Recipient's Name], I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from my position as [Your Job Title] at [Company/Organization Name]. Please consider this letter as my formal notice, with my last working day being [Date], as per the [notice period, typically two weeks] requirement. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have gained during my tenure at [Company/Organization Name]. It has been a pleasure working with such a talented and dedicated team. I am committed to facilitating a smooth transition by completing any pending tasks and providing comprehensive handover documentation. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss my resignation further and address any questions or concerns you may have, and I am available at your convenience to schedule a meeting. Please let me know your preferred date and time, and I will make the necessary arrangements. Thank you for your understanding and support. I am confident that the team at [Company/Organization Name] will continue to thrive, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Yours sincerely, [Your Name]
Resigning from your job to become a freelancer requires careful consideration and strategic planning. By following the do’s and don’ts outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth transition into your new freelance career while maintaining professionalism and safeguarding your future success.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-equipped to make a confident leap into the world of freelancing while leaving your current job on good terms. With careful planning and execution, you can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling freelance career.