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How to Finally Quit Your Corporate Job in 5 Steps (+When)

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Want to quit your corporate job? You’re in the right place. 

In this guide, you’ll get a step-by-step plan of how to leave your corporate job without burning bridges or your savings. 

Let’s dive right in!

How to quit your corporate job

First, let’s dispel a common myth. 

There’s an idea that the best entrepreneur is the one that burns the most.

They turn in their notice and go against all odds to make their business work. 

Sexy idea, but not the reality for most people. 

In fact, I’ve seen so many people have to return to their corporate jobs after doing this.

We don’t want that! So I’m going to show you a method that helps you quit your corporate job and have a smooth transition to the life you really want. 

Sounds good? Read on.

1. What you can do instead of your corporate job 

When you leave your corporate job, what are you going to do next? 

Because there are more options than you might think. 

You could:

  • Switch careers
  • Start your own business
  • Take a sabbatical
  • Go part-time in your current role
  • Join a non-profit in your field

…and so on. 

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So this journey starts with answering that question. 

What do you really want? What is your “why”?

Now, there’s no right or wrong answer. BUT if you want to leave your corporate job relatively soon, I recommend starting a “Freedom Business.” 

A Freedom Business is a business that gives you flexibility, freedom, and profit. 

Examples include: 

  • Coaching
  • Consulting
  • Freelancing
  • Online courses

Take coaching/consulting. 

This is one of the best alternatives to your corporate job because you can get started right away with the skills you have. The upfront costs are low as you offer a service that you yourself perform. 

And it’s one of the most profitable businesses you can start. 

My student Mara at Top Law School Consulting is a great example. She is a former lawyer who now runs a consulting business helping students get into law school. Mara was able to quit her job and replace it with a profitable business teaching the knowledge she gained from getting into law school herself.

TopLawSchoolConsulting website screenshot

And there’s a coaching niche for everyone. You just have to find an audience that wants to learn what you already know.

But here’s the big question: are you sure you want to quit your corporate career?

Are you quitting for the wrong reasons?

Let’s find out.

2. Don’t quit for the wrong reasons 

Entrepreneurship has blown up in the past few years with one in six Americans wanting to leave their corporate jobs too. 

But is that the right move for YOU?

Here’s what they don’t tell you: Building a business or starting a new career from scratch is HARD. 

It takes time, effort, and energy to change course. And there are downsides to everything. 

For example, being an entrepreneur requires a lot of discipline to get things done. There will always be things you don’t want to do. If you’re procrastinating now, that’s not going to change when you leave your corporate job. 

So ask yourself:

  • What specifically do I dislike about this job?
  • Would this job be better if I was at a different company with a better culture? 
  • Could I speak to my manager about adjusting the role to fit my priorities?
  • Am I just burnt out and need a break? 

Now, maybe after diving into these questions, you still want to quit your job. 

That’s great! 

I knew quitting was the right move for me because I dreamed about owning a business.

Then tragedy happened and it confirmed that entrepreneurship was for me.

In the space of just a year, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, my sister had a snowball accident, and my Dad had major heart surgery. 

And guess what? Because I had no PTO left, I couldn’t be there for them. 

Thankfully, they were all okay. But that disappointment made me realize how much I needed flexibility in my life. 

That was the final thing that pushed me away from my cushy job to become an entrepreneur. 

But I didn’t walk out straight away like they do in the movies. 

You shouldn’t either.

Next, we’ll talk about how you can build your new career alongside your current job. 

3. Start building your business or learning new skills on the side 

Truth: Walking away without a backup plan doesn’t make you a “real” entrepreneur. 

That approach rarely works for anyone. And it’s one of the most stressful things you can do to yourself.

Why? Well, like I said, building a business or switching careers is hard

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Your current job gives you the financial freedom to focus on your next steps without worry. 

Without that, you could end up burning out or taking on work you don’t want to do just to pay bills. 

And you can’t make good decisions about your future when you’re in that fight or flight mode.

The solution? Plan out how you’re going to build your business or new career on the side of your corporate job. 

Let’s say you want to start a business.

You can create an offer and find your first paying clients in your free time. 

You can also leverage your salary to invest in services and tools that might help you. 

The same goes for building a new career. 

Find freelance projects you can do on the side to gain the skills you need for your career change. That way, you’ll have a better chance of landing a job in your new industry.

Now, you’re probably wondering: How will I find the time to work on this and my day job?  

My advice? Get clear on your schedule and figure out the things that will make the biggest difference. 

In business, I call these “sales activities.” Those are the tasks that bring in clients

Want to know more about driving more clients to your business, this video will help:

If you’re transitioning to a new career your “sales activities” could be looking for freelance roles on Upwork. Or networking with people in your chosen industry on LinkedIn. 

Then, set daily appointments to work on your new career. Even if you only have 20 minutes a day, it adds up. Use your “why” to motivate you to get the work done in the time that you have.

Screenshot of schedule
Here’s my own calendar from when I was still in my 9-5 – I would schedule in time during lunch breaks and after work.

Ultimately, you need to make time to get it all done (for example, use your lunch breaks or commutes). As harsh as it might sound, building a business or finding a new career takes work and sacrifices. 

If you don’t have the motivation to work on your new career or business now, you won’t find it once you’ve left your job. 

Next, let’s talk numbers. 

4. Make a plan 

Scared that you’ll run out of money if you quit your corporate job?

You’re not alone. Maybe, like it was the case for me, your corporate job earns a great salary and a quality of life you don’t want to let go of. 

Well, good news. You don’t have to let them go.

Because you’re building your business or learning new skills on the side, you’ll have your salary to fall back on. 

BUT your financial plan still has to change if you want to take the leap. 

First, figure out how you can cut expenses. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a life. It just means cutting any unnecessary spending.

Listen: I’m sure my dog Falco would be super upset if he didn’t get his weekly gourmet treats. But they aren’t necessities, so I’d be happy to cut back on them.  

In fact, I was super conservative with my finances while I built my business. For a whole year, I lowered my expenses so I could save more. 

Tip: Think about how you can cut back so you can give yourself as much runway as possible. 

Because here’s the thing: This is a marathon. NOT a sprint. 

It takes time to build the foundations you need to quit your corporate job with confidence.

And trust me, I was calling my mom all of the time saying that I was going to walk out. 

Thankfully, she stopped me. Ultimately, I was able to make over $100,000 before quitting my corporate career, had clients lined up to work with me, and never looked back.

Do you need to wait to make six-figures before you quit too? It depends. 

Let’s talk about it.

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for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

5. When to hand in your notice 

So you’ve been building your business for a while. Or you’re networking and learning skills for your new career. 

How do you know when it’s time to leave?

For entrepreneurs, here’s what I call the 321 rule: 

  • 3 – Have at least 3 months of consistent sales in your business
  • 2 – Make at least 2X your expenses from your business 
  • 1 – Save 1 year of living expenses

Just one of these set up will increase your chances of success after quitting your job.

In my case, I focused on consistent sales and 2X expenses. At that time, saving one year of living expenses was way too daunting. 

But if you have all three, you’re in the best position to quit. 

I talk more about the money side of things in this video:

What if you’re changing careers? 

For you, it’s way simpler. Make sure you have a job offer that will replace or exceed your current salary. I also recommend having some savings in case your first job move doesn’t work out. 

And that’s it! You’re ready to hand in your notice.

Reasons for quitting your corporate job

In the previous section, we talked about leaving for the wrong reasons. 

And I get it. When I decided I wanted to quit my job, I wanted to hand in my notice every week. 

But here’s the thing: Taking as long as I did made me really think about why I wanted to be an entrepreneur. 

Here are some common reasons why you might want to quit your job:

1. You feel undervalued

Maybe you’ve been playing small for some time. 

You’re in a role that doesn’t challenge or stretch you. You know you have so much more to give and your current company isn’t helping you fulfill your potential.

If you want more impact, becoming an entrepreneur could be the right fit for you. 

Because as an entrepreneur, there’s no limit to your reach and impact. 

You can give so much value to the world. 

For example, as a coach, you can help people transform their lives with skills you already have.

2. You want more flexibility and freedom 

Maybe you’re tired of having limited PTO… Or your 9-5 schedule doesn’t work with your other commitments, like having enough time for your family. 

Building a business can give you more flexibility.

Now, I’m not saying being a business owner doesn’t come with any obligations.

There are plenty! BUT if you want to…

…Work remotely

…Work 7am to 3pm

…Work four days a week

And so on, you can. 

That flexibility and freedom means you can focus on your priorities. 

Whether that’s traveling, volunteering, or spending time with family.

3. You’re passionate about something 

Let’s talk about passion. 

Maybe you were passionate about your job when you started but you’ve outgrown it. 

You want to start a business or start working in a new industry for one simple reason: 

You’re passionate about that new industry.

You steal moments in your free time to work on your new skills. 

You can picture the exact type of business you want to start. Or the dream company you want to work for. 

These are all great reasons to consider quitting your corporate job. Because that passion will fuel you to work on the side until you’re ready to fully quit.

If any of these apply to you, it might be time to plan your escape. 

Next steps

Get the Ultimate Guide

for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

There you have it! Everything you need to know so you can quit your corporate job and live your dream life.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, listen up. You can realize that dream this year with my signature course Employee to Entrepreneur. 

Several students who have taken the course now have flexible, profitable businesses. So if you want a step-by-step guide to building a Freedom Business that will help you leave your corporate career, this course is for you.

Sign up to the waitlist here.

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Read more:

How to Go from Employee to Entrepreneur 

How to Build a Six-Figure Business in 4 Months

The Most Successful Online Business Ideas

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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