How To: Talk to Your Partner About Quitting Your Job to Launch a Startup

September 1, 2021

“Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.” – Seth Godin

Difficult conversations are never easy. Especially when it comes to talking with your partner about a big decision like quitting your day job to pursue your startup. 

You’ve made the leap of faith to go all in and having your partner’s commitment and support on your new venture is important to start on the right foot. So having this difficult conversation is not only necessary before you take the leap but vital for your startup’s success.

Considering quitting your job to launch or join a startup? Learn more about our Big to Small Lab

Important Points to Bring Up During the Conversation

  1. Communicate what the decision is and why you feel it’s best for not only you but your partner. When your partner clearly understands the why behind your decision and that you’ve looked at it from multiple perspectives, they’ll feel more comfortable with and involved in the decision.
  2. Share your vision and commitment to the short and long-term plan including timelines for certain milestones to be accomplished. Having outcomes to measure the progress of your decision will help make course corrections when they arise. A CEO’s job is to articulate the vision of the company. Sharing your vision is good practice before doing this with potential co-founders, early hires, mentors, and investors. 
  3. Explore what’s the worst-case scenario and discuss the contingency plans if it does happen. Leaving a steady financial stream of income is a big risk that many are not willing to take, so setting a clear contingency plan if certain milestones aren’t reached is key to moving forward with the big decision. This includes calculating your burn rate and startup runway to have a solid understanding of how long your cash flow will last. 
  4. Allow space and time for your partner to ask any questions as difficult as they may be. Your partner will experience the ups and downs of the decision as much as you do, so ensure their concerns are heard and addressed. 
  5. Express your appreciation and gratitude. Your partner believes in you and this unwavering support is crucial to get you through the many successes and challenges along the way. Ensure you express how much your partner’s dedication and commitment mean to you.
  6. Check-in often. This type of difficult conversation doesn’t just happen once and is over. The depth of the conversation will progress as you and your partner will experience varying emotions during this new journey. Make sure you touch-base often on how your partner is doing throughout.

No one likes having difficult conversations. However, there are ways to turn difficult conversations into healthy, productive discussions where both you and your partner feel good about the outcome of quitting your day job to pursue your startup passion. 

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