How to resign and run your business full time

Congratulations! You’ve decided to make a full-time commitment to your business.

Before you give your notice and burn bridges your work enemies, remember that your network and relationships are especially important to you as an entrepreneur who is just starting out.

Leave smart.

Testing the waters—To resign or not to resign?

If you are going to be a full-time entrepreneur, you have to make sure you’re financially and legally in the clear

The golden rule before quitting your job is to make sure you have 3-6 months worth of your fixed-income saved up before leaving. If your finances are not in check, you should reconsider resigning.

It is not unusual to start your own business journey while being employed. If you want to keep your “day job” while starting a business, please ensure you’re not violating your employment contract. If in doubt, seek legal counsel and/or inform your current employer about your new venture. 

If your new venture violates any employment contracts, STOP!  You do not want to start your business with a cloud of litigation hovering over you. Click To Tweet

Employers and courts take contractual agreements seriously, so do not call your employer’s bluff.

For example, there was a case in Nigeria where an employee entered into a service contract where he was not to engage in a business similar to the employer’s business within a certain geographical area for one year.

Less than 3 weeks after he started work, he breached the contract by resigning and joining a rival company in the same area. The Nigerian Supreme Court held that contracts that prevent employees from engaging in a similar business as the employer are enforceable as long as the contracts are “reasonable with reference to the interest of the parties concerned and of the public” (Leventis Motors Ltd. v. Andreas Koumoulis (1973) 1 All NLR (Part 2) 144 at 146).

Diving in – Your resignation

Before you resign, review all your employment contracts, if applicable. The contract usually details the resignation procedure, how your resignation must be presented, and the necessary resignation notice period – 2 weeks, 1 month, etc.

It is important that you follow the rules sis! You do not want to expose yourself to unnecessary legal liability by ignoring those words in black and white.  

Secondly, check if you signed a non-compete agreement with your current employer. Will your new venture involve the use of your employer’s proprietary information?

If you did sign one, make sure that the scope of your new venture does not fall within the scope of services your employer offers, and that your new venture will not apply your employer’s proprietary information.

Finally, are you planning to start the new venture with a coworker?

"If starting a new business with a coworker – review all your contracts and your employer’s employment policies carefully! There may be a little something there about poaching…" Click To Tweet

Ensure that you and your co-worker’s departure will not result in a breach of your contract or your employer’s policies. Also, ensure that your potential business partner is not subject to any non-compete agreements and will not be using any proprietary information in the new venture. 

Keep your start-up team in legal tip-top shape.

It is important to dedicate time to thinking through your resignation. There is no point in rushing to the finish line without laying the right foundation.

Got a question? Send a message or voice note to +2349078653509 on Whatsapp anywhere in Africa for our new video advice series – #AskASis.

Contributing Editor: Diana Odero

When to leave a job

Leaving a position at the right time can be crucial towards career advancement Click To Tweet

Millennials get a bad rap for hopping from one job to the next. But, is it really that awful to leave a position when the fit isn’t right?

Leaving a position at the right time can be crucial towards career advancement. There’s no benefit in staying at a job where you may be undervalued and underpaid just because of the status quo. With that being said, here are a few things you should consider before turning in your pink slip.

You’re making below the industry standard

Do your research on Glassdoor and find out how much people in your area and same position are making. Also, if you’re eating noodles every night and can barely make rent, that’s a telltale sign to search for another opportunity whether you’re being paid fairly or not.

You deserve a job that allows you to enjoy steak and champagne every day of the week!


You deserve a job that allows you to enjoy steak and champagne every day of the week Click To Tweet

There’s been a mass exodus

I’m not saying to follow the crowd, but…if you’re getting farewell party emails every other day and your coworkers constantly disappear for interviews, it’s time for you to take heed. You don’t want to be that lifer at your job that’s been there for 40 years telling the newcomers stories about the good old days.

Also, use your coworkers moving on to your advantage. Make those LinkedIn connections, schedule coffee meetings, and start networking because your coworkers can serve as great references for a new job.


You’re performing above and beyond your job description

Revisit the original job description when you applied for your position. Now, write out your current daily duties. If you’re exceeding your expectations, congratulations, you’re in luck!

Use those additional tasks to build your resume and prove to potential employers that you deserve a better position.

Your (former) coworkers can serve as great references for a new job Click To Tweet

You’re stuck in the same place

Most of us are ready for a promotion after a year or two, which can be a little soon depending on your company. However, if you’re receiving positive reviews, show up on time, listen to your boss ramble about her kids and you’ve been in the same spot for more than two years with no signs of a promotion, it’s time to go.


You don’t fit the culture

This can be crucial towards your success and happiness at your job. If you’re working in a rigid environment where suits and heels are required but you consider yourself a creative spirit, it may be time to explore other options.

If you naturally don’t feel like a match for your job, why deprive yourself of an opportunity where you do? Make it a priority to devote yourself to your passion, being happy with your career, and leaving that position that’s bringing you down.

Achenyo Asimegbe: I wanted to be my own #boss before 30

Achenyo Asimegbe

Achenyo Asimegbe of @Stylemarkmall shares her story from quitting her job to serial entrepreneur Click To Tweet

How many of your friends are dissatisfied with their jobs and are always going on about quitting (even if they never do)? Achenyo Asimegbe is one of the few who have braved the resignation path. As with most things in life, it wasn’t easy.

Achenyo had to quit her job when a transfer request was rejected. First, she had to face family and friends who thought she was making a mistake and ruining her life. Then, came those months where the reality of no salary coming in hit home and Achenyo considered going back to the office life.

Yet since making the decision to become a #MotherlandMogul, Achenyo has grown to be a serial entrepreneur. She retails children’s clothing and accessories at Stylemark Mall and trains entrepreneurs and start-ups through Stylemark Pro Enterprise. Achenyo Asimegbe is also a mentor with the Cherie Blaire and Tony Elumelu foundations, supporting other women in businesses.

Why did you decide to leave banking?

I have worked with two commercial banks, Spring Bank PLC & Enterprise Bank Limited, for a total period of 5 years. I had so much passion for the job. However, one day I decided to request for a transfer. I was in Minna, Niger state and wanted to move to Abuja, where my husband just recently found a new job.

I had written formally and pleaded with my superior officers to simply transfer me on marital grounds. Yet, the transfer request was not granted. I was told there was no space at all, in any of the numerous branches the bank had in Abuja.

Prior to this time, I was gradually getting dissatisfied with the job. I realized that in all the 5 years I had put in, I had not really achieved anything great in life. I had already decided that I wanted to be my boss and set a goal to do so before I turned 30. When my transfer request was not granted, I was 29 years old.

After been told all the no’s and that the transfer will not be possible, I made up my mind to quit. And so, I resigned to fully pursue my passion and accomplish that dream of being my own boss before I turn 30.

Did you get any support from your friends or family when you made the decision to quit your job? How did you overcome that?

When I made up my mind and resigned, not too many people agreed with my decision. Getting friends and family to be on the same page with me was very tough. Everyone felt I was making a mistake that I may regret later.

But I kept telling them that I know my strengths, capabilities, and I have great skills. I knew I would be back on my feet very soon. Every day I would get calls from friends/family, telling me about job offers they saw on the net, newspaper and so on.

I knew that chapter of my life was over, but they were still tied to the career person I had been in the past. As days and months went by, they began to see the reality that I had moved on.

Achenyo Asimegbe: I resigned to accomplish that dream of being my own boss before I turn 30 Click To Tweet

What happened immediately after you resigned?

After resigning from my job, and staying 1-2 months without a salary coming in, I grew worried. Then I began considering going back to a paid job.

At this time, I had not really figured what exactly I wanted to do next. So, I began applying for jobs all over. I attended interviews but most of the organizations wrote back informing me that I wasn’t selected. This happened more than five times.

Then I had enough and said I wasn’t going to apply for jobs again. I decided to start a small business and become self-employed. So, I took a bold step and started business. I established Stylemark Mall, an enterprise that deals in children’s clothing and accessories. Our target audience ranges from new-born kids to 15-year-old teenagers.

I have recently become a serial entrepreneur adding a new line of business, Stylemark ProEnterprise, a capacity development centre. One of our products is the SME Springboard, a platform designed to assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) realize their growth potentials.achenyo-5

What other projects are you currently involved in?

I have so much I’m working on. I am working on launching my clothing line for children, which is really exciting for me. Still, I’m taking it one step at a time.

I have over the last 3 months, been organizing trainings/skills and acquisition programmes for women, in Abuja. This is just as a way to give back to society and encourage women to start a small business.

I am also a mentor on Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women in Business, and Tony Elumelu Foundation for Entrepreneurs.

Achenyo Asimegbe: I wouldn’t have spent all those years in banking & started my businesses Click To Tweet

If you could go back in time and change one thing in your journey, what will it be?

I most certainly wouldn’t have spent all those years in banking. I would have established my businesses earlier than now.

But in all, I am grateful to God for all the experiences and lessons as along the way.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Vinolia Singh: What you should do before you drop the mic and resign

vinolia singh she leads africa hr executive resign advice

Both negative and positive feedback play an important role in anyone's career Click To Tweet

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend who had recently left her job. When she left, her boss told her that he wished she had clearly expressed the extent of her unhappiness before she resigned. That sounded familiar. I had heard the same thing a few days prior when I ended a business relationship I was in.

This bothered me because I realized that if I was being honest with myself, I probably didn’t know how to navigate some uncomfortable conversations. So I sat down with Human Resources executive Vinolia Singh, who is the group head of HR technology at Imperial. She has been involved in HR for over 15 years. Having worked with companies like Multi-Choice and Discovery (South Africa), there was no-one better to get advice from.

Firstly, what does being a ‘woman in the workplace’ mean to you?

Personally I don’t ‘see’ gender. I see women as being team members, and equal value adding contributors like their male counterparts. So in meetings and core discussions women should strip the gender out of the conversation and view themselves as credible experts on the subject matter and voice their opinions, ideas and thoughts.

Be factual, show the evidence and where possible, quantify your arguments. If your argument is challenged, remain emotionally in control and debate again with the facts.

However, women do bring a different set of skills in the workplace. This is often one that is more nurturing and approachable. In today’s world of work I see a focus on developing and enhancing employee’s capabilities to drive innovation and creativity. With this in mind, I think women are naturally designed to be leaders.

I think women are naturally designed to be leaders Click To Tweet

I shared the story of why I decided to do this article with you.

For many people, voicing discontent is uncomfortable. No one wants to look like they are a ‘whiner’. Can you speak to this fear of being seen as ‘high maintenance’?

It is import to realize that both negative and positive feedback play an important role in anyone’s career. The difference in both aspects of feedback is the level of EQ with which one approaches the feedback. With feedback that is seen as negative, be extremely mature and professional as to how you give and receive such feedback.

If you are unhappy with something, don’t complain without a reason. Raise it as a concern and clearly state the impact the issue has on your role, and business delivery.

In addition, when you a raise a concern or unhappiness, have a proposed solution to fix the situation. The solution may be accepted or rejected by your manager. The goal is for them to see you are trying to find a way forward.

Always understand and have the ability to read your manager. Determine the best times to raise negative issues. Don’t try to do so when they are not in a good mood as it can result in an undesirable outcome. Don’t also expect to have all the answers. If something is bothering you, raise it at an appropriate time.

Admit: “I don’t have the answer, but I’m hoping we can navigate through this together!”

Practically, what does a good way to voice discontent look like?

  • Prepare adequately for the discussion
  • Be deliberate with your discontent; don’t assume they should know you are unhappy
  • Be realistic with your expectation to resolve your discontent
  • Once again, the timing of when you raise this is critical. Don’t leave the discontent unaddressed, or until you have emotionally checked out. Once raised give your manager time to respond, be patient. Pay attention to your tone when raising your discontent and the intent thereof.


What’s a common mistake people make when they want to resign?

Often employees play around with resignation, or use it as a substitute and tool to negotiate their salaries. Be very cautious as it can back fire if this is your intent. I’ll use two scenario’s to illustrate this:

  • Scenario one: Employees threaten to resign and hope that their manager will convince them to stay. The employer meets their demands, which are often related to financial increase. A few months later they try the same thing. There comes a point when the manager can predict such behaviour and the employee is seen as a nuisance.
  • Scenario two:  Employee resigns with the hope to expect a counter offer. The manager accepts the resignation. The employee has overestimated their value, or not taken the time to state it. This didn’t work out according to the employees plan and then a few days later the employee retracts the resignation.

In a nut shell, the way one chooses to resign or uses resignation as a power tool has a direct impact on their reputation. Stay clear of using resignation as a weapon for ulterior motives. Be serious and take all considerations into account when you decide to resign.

Stay clear of using resignation as a weapon for ulterior motives. Click To Tweet

Some people who are reading this are managing people themselves. What advice do you give them to avoid being blind-sided by resignations from discontent team members?

As a manager you are leader. Part of being a leader is the ability to have the foresight to predict an employee’s happiness or discontent in their role. The only way to get such foresight is to invest time in your people.

Get to know what gets them ticking or holds them back from doing their very best. Play to the strengths of your team. If you understand your team at a personal level, you will easily be able to pick up when they are unhappy. Then approach them and discuss your observations.

Be very cautious about using resignation as a tool to negotiate salaries Click To Tweet

Be brave and have that courageous conversation. More often than not employees appreciate such leaders. It is important for leaders not only to express or realize the value of their team members only when they resign. Employees actually feel insulted with counter offers as it appears that the organisation only values them when they decide to leave.

Have you ever had to go out of your way to understand an employee?

One situation in particular made me realize the value of studying my team. I had a manager who reported to me, and wanted every promotion that went out. I always sat him down and gave him feedback as to why he was passed over, and the gaps he currently has for new roles. Still, he always felt he was entitled to that promotion.

Every time he got passed over for the job he applied for, his behaviour became destructive. Instead of focusing on the feedback and working on his development areas, he focused on being destructive. I would call him in immediately and point out his behaviour and the impact it is having on the team. He will completely deny that he was unhappy.

It took real understanding of this employee for me to make the link between his behaviour and the promotions he was being passed over for. While he will never acknowledged it, I understood the cause. This helped me better understand his needs as a team member.