Country Bridge That is Falling ApartIf you’ve been working as an employee while planning to start your new business, one of the big questions you’ll need to address is when – and how – to leave your job.

As excited as you are about your new venture, leaving the security of your current job is a difficult thing to do. Let’s face it, until now you’ve had a steady paycheck, scheduled time off, and probably health insurance too. From here on out, all of those things will be your responsibility. And you probably can’t imagine when you’ll get to take your next vacation.

It can be enough to make you hyperventilate. But if you’ve done your homework and have a good, solid business plan in place, you’ll be fine.

So take a deep breath, and start thinking about how to break the news to your boss.

There are a couple of scenarios to consider. Depending on the business you’re starting, you might be able to stay at your job while you get your own enterprise up and running. For example, if you’re going to be doing freelance editing, you may be able to work at that in the evenings and on weekends until you establish a solid client base – of course, you won’t have much personal time, but if that works for you, it might be a possibility.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be a personal chef, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the time to work 9-5 and still be able to service your own clients.

So, what should you do?

Again, a lot depends on your specific circumstances. If you’ve got a solid relationship with your present employer, and the boss knows about your plans, then your departure won’t come as a surprise.

But if your plans aren’t common knowledge at the office, you should proceed with care, particularly if your new company is in the same line of work as your present job. While you don’t technically have to announce that you’re opening your own company, it’s a really good idea to be above-board about it.

Let’s say you’re leaving an accounting firm to open your own practice. You’re going to become the competition, and that will go over much better if your current employer hears it directly from you. In addition, you might have clients who want to follow you. If that’s the case, you have to be honest with the boss. You don’t want to start your new business with a less-than-perfect reputation.

The bottom line is this. Give your employer at least the standard period of notice. Do what you can to ease any tension about your leaving. Be gracious and good-natured. And don’t burn any bridges – you never know when your past employers might be able to help you down the road.