You've done your homework, have a realistic grasp of what it's going to take and feel reasonably confident you've laid the groundwork necessary to succeed. So what's next?

You're days away from walking out of your corner office but still have two weeks to your new life as a full-time entrepreneur. When used wisely, this time can help you successfully shift from one role to another.

Helping your employer manage your departure will pave the way for your success. Your boss could be an incredible source for future referrals, so it's essential to make every effort to leave on good terms.

These 8 tips will help set the stage for the next phase of your career.

1. Keep at it.

Don't let your final days as someone else's employee damage the strong reputation you've worked so hard to build over the years. Give your job due diligence as you wrap up projects and shift duties to other colleagues. Meet with your boss to review your current scope of work because they may not be aware of everything on your plate. Discuss the best way to ensure your responsibilities are successfully handed over to others. Be genuinely helpful and hardworking in creating a smooth transition and train your replacement with consideration and care.

2. Stay focused on your current job.

Even though you've turned in your resignation, you're still on the payroll. Maintain your focus in your present job and continue to manage your start-up during evenings and weekends. Resist any temptation to work on your venture during office hours to ensure you leave with the highest degree of professionalism.

3. Ask for a recommendation.

An endorsement from a supervisor to post on your website or social media platforms are worth its weight in gold. Strong commendations attesting to your skills and reliability can be valuable, even if your new business is not directly related to your prevailing tasks. Never underestimate the power of third-party accolades.

4. Take advantage of any benefits you've earned.

This is especially important when you're leaving to start your own company - you'll need every cent to cover expenses as you build your business. If you have unused sick days or extra vacation time, check with your HR department and inquire about their payout.

Stretch your dollars by taking care of any last-minute medical or dental appointments while still covered by your employer's health insurance. The benefits you can afford as a self-employed business owner will likely be far less than those your current plan offers.

5. Gather your contacts.

Before you walk out the door, be sure to have contact information for your network of connections. Also make sure your colleagues know how to reach you. Line up your references before leaving and let them know your plans.

6. Never attempt to take your employer's clients or staff with you.

As a new business owner, your integrity is key to your success. You will need to build trust among prospective customers, and goodwill will be an important component to your advancement.

Trying to lure the company's consumers or other colleagues to go with you is a terrible idea. There's no subtle way to steal a client. Be assured it will get back to your previous employer and damage any future relationship you may have with them.

7. Express your gratitude.

As excited as you may be about moving on, take a moment to thank your supervisor for the opportunity. Even if you don't like your boss, a short but sincere note of appreciation can help you leave on positive terms. This is one more important step to leaving on a high note with as many people in your corner as possible.

8. Leave them wanting more.

Reinforce connections with your existing coworkers. Treat this as an opportunity to network and take the time to engage with colleagues before leaving. The people you say goodbye to now may become clients tomorrow.

Even if you're transitioning to a completely different field, it's a small world and everyone is a referral source when you're self-employed. Moving forward, you will benefit in ways you can't imagine from people who think highly of you. Leave in a manner that ensures anyone would be happy to work with you again.

Published on: Jan 31, 2017