After college, I worked in the hospitality industry – both in operations and in finance – before making the move into self-employment. It was a great experience in that it taught me much about how a business functions and operates. I got a taste of human resources, customer service, information technology, finance, management, team building, and a variety of other aspects that can be pertinent to the running of a business or organization. Working a regular job before becoming my own boss also helped me in several other ways.
Laying a financial foundation
I used much of my spare time – and income – while working a regular job to begin preparing for a career in which things would be less financially secure. I put money into a company stock-purchase plan, funded a 401(k), and built a cash reserve fund that could carry me through a period in which little or no income existed.
When I made the transition to a self-employed career, I found that these moves were indeed critical to my success. With initial income near zero, I relied heavily upon my cash reserve. And with income growing slowly over the following years, I found myself glad that I had funded a retirement account, since I had nothing left over at the end of the month to contribute to such a plan, the bulk of my income going largely to cover living and work expenses. This reserve funding gave me the time necessary to try different things in order to make my self-employment endeavors a success.
Better management skills
In the working world, learning how to manage others also helped me learn how to better manage myself. Conducting training sessions and being responsible for a staff helped me hone my skills when it came to things like scheduling, time management, prioritizing, multi-tasking, and more. This way, when I was out on my own with no one else there to provide advice, motivation, constructive criticism, or review my progress, I could conduct such performance reviews on my own.
Customer service skills
Customer service skills are something that can prove critical whether working at a standard employer-based job or as a self-employed individual. Whether it’s problem resolution, improving communication skills, understanding team building and customer relationships, or learning how discounts, perks, and bonuses can lead to increased sales, working in an organization can help hone those customer service skills before becoming your own boss.
You might just stumble into your dream job; but for many of us, working a regular job before becoming self-employed often teaches us how disappointing and frustrating working for someone else can be. One of the fantastic aspects of working a regular job before venturing into self-employment is the greater appreciation you may find for being your own boss once there.
Having freedom of time, schedule, projects, type and style of work, and similar aspects of being in charge of your own operation may be lacking when working for someone else. However, when on your own after being chained to a desk or suffering under a bad boss, you might just undergo a heightened appreciation for many of the freedoms self-employed work may provide.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional or career advisor. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.