Changing your career. Leaving your job behind. Embarking on a new career. Starting a business. These are all exciting concepts. They’re all concepts you’ll be dealing with when you start your consulting business. There is, however, a little bit of work to do before you begin.
Since you need to complete this task before you start your consulting business, I’ll call this tip zero.
Leaving your job – who should you tell?
For most people there will be a time between handing in their resignations and leaving their jobs when they can begin to prepare for their new careers. When you’re working your notice there’s a very important task to complete.
This is letting key people know that you’re leaving your job and that you’re starting in a new career.
When I work with people who are thinking about changing careers and starting their own businesses, I always advise them to think carefully about who needs to know what they intend to do.
I ask them to make a list of thirty people they intend to inform that they’re leaving their current job.
I suggest you do this, too. (If you’re already in business you might still find this a helpful activity.)
If you struggle to create a list of thirty, then I wonder if you’re ready to set up your own business yet.
If you don’t know who to include, then perhaps you need to bit more focus in your planning.
Once you have your list start to subdivide those people into categories. Your principal categories are:
- potential customers
- potential referrers
- potential collaborators
- good people to know – people with influence in your chosen marketplace
- others – no more than five of these.
Why are these people important?
This is the start of your list of business contacts. Your list of contacts will be important to you throughout your business career. You will nurture and build this list throughout your business life. You will want to keep in touch with the people on this list from now on.
You need at least thirty such people on your list when you start out because you will be building your business around relationships such as these. If you have a significantly smaller number of people on your list, you might struggle to establish yourself in business.
The people you inform must all be people who know you and your career to date. They must all be people who are familiar with your successes and your capabilities.
Write to them about your new career
Write a personal letter to every one on your list.
Yes, write a letter, not an email, to every one on your list.
Do this to help you to be confident that the letter reaches the intended recipient. Do this to try to ensure your letter will be noted and remembered. You stand a much better chance of achieving these objectives if you write an old-fashioned letter.
Leaving your job and moving on
It’s important that your letter is upbeat and positive.
Your letter should state in quite simple terms that you want to let the person you are writing to know that you are leaving your current role. It should also state when you will be leaving.
Your letter should also explain what you will be doing next.
You should indicate that you hope your path will cross that of the recipient again in the future.
You should not ask for work or even hint at a request for work.
By writing such a letter you’re closing the door on your current career and saying something positive about what you intend to do with your life. Even if you’re being made redundant you can still write this sort of letter.
If you leave quickly, that is if you resign – or are dismissed – and leave your job with hardly any notice period, you can write a letter saying you have left and then go on to state what you will be doing next.
Why are you telling people you’re changing your career?
When someone leaves a job his or her contacts are often uncertain about why this has happened. They are uncomfortable asking about the circumstances. Your contacts will respond in the same way. They won’t want to raise the subject of your departure.
If you make a point of telling your contacts in a very positive way that you are leaving and you have plans for your next role, then there is no ambiguity and no speculation as to what is happening.
Do this and you will have a clear road ahead of you. When your notice period ends, you’ll be able to pursue your new career and start your consulting business without any potentially embarrassing situations ahead of you.
By writing this letter you’re saying that changing your career is a positive act. Make sure the world sees your career change as positive, too.
What to do now
So, if you have already begun your consulting career, how did you let people know you were about to make a major change to your working life?
If you’re on the brink of leaving, will you find this approach helpful?
Leave a comment and let me know if you find this advice helpful. Share the post with your followers on Twitter if you’d like them to know about this tip.