When to leave work?

Hi All

I'm qualfied ACCA (due to become FCCA this year) and in the last 6 months I have set up a practice with my friend, gained my practising certificate and won a client.  This client at the moment is not generating a huge fee income, but due to a change in their business model, could feasibly be earning us a reasonable fee by as soon as the end of the year - maybe 2-3 days work per month (although this is all an estimate).  My business partner and I are currently both struggling with holding down full time work and setting up the practice - having to take time off work to sort things out and haven't any time left to meet new clients.

My day job has a 3 month notice period, so have to think quite a way forward.  I have enough savings to last me around a year (living frugally, which I'm happy to do) and have reached the end mentally in the role.  Now comes the age old question - when is it right to leave work?  I've drawn up a list of pros and cons and really the only thing on the cons side is money.  I have a mortgage but no dependents (the mortgage is factored into my savings calculation).  I've been told all along this process that you should stay in work until you really HAVE to leave, but I don't know when that will be.  Plus, it's virtually impossible to find clients and actively market whilst I'm in work all day.  I also feel like I'm not devoting even half my attentions to my day job, which I feel guilty about.  I was thinking of trying to find some part time work as I've met a few recruitment consultants who say there are positions that would match my needs (although I do realise they're just salesmen and are likely lying - therefore I'm not taking this as a definite!)

Does anyone have any thoughts?  I'm in SW London and I've heard the market there isn't too bad at the moment for winning new clients.  Is there anything else that should be factored into my pros/cons list?

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Kent accountant's picture

Right now.    1 thanks

Kent accountant | | Permalink

Factors usually holding people back from leaving full time employment and starting out on their own are financial and a fear of 'how will I find clients?'.

You say that you have sufficient savings to last 12 months. That is an accurate estimate of how long it will take your practice to get established if you work on it full time.

I was in the fortunate position of making a gradual transition from consultancy work to full time practice work which took around 10 months to complete. Consultancy reduced from 3/4 days a week, down to two and very recently I stopped all contract consultancy work.

If I'm honest I should have done it earlier, being able to devote every day to existing clients and new prospects does mean that I have felt far more at ease. I've also picked up more new work in this period by being available at very short notice to deal with issues that have cropped up.

Unless you've got a huge marketing budget and team, it will take time to find new clients.

I would suggest that either you or your partner stop full time work now, perhaps even doing some part time subcontract or consultancy work to keep you active and the cash coming in whilst you win new clients.

The other one of you could then stay in full time work until the time is right to join the practice full time. If you have clarity over what your plan is it will make you both feel more comfortable, the one of you who stays in full time work can then focus on doing your job properly in the knowledge that your partner is working on the business. 

The partner then working on the practice can start networking, marketing and all the practice development things you need to do but currently don't have the time to do.

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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