Sometimes I look back with reverence to the days when I had a regular job. Being self-employed can be rewarding but is also no easy task at times; however, I made the transition with plenty of planning and forethought.
With the knowledge that I was eventually going to try to make a go of it on my own, I had some time to prepare while I was still working for my employer in the hotel business. And with this knowledge, I began using that time and environment to prepare myself for one day being my own boss, realizing that there were examples and resources all around me that could assist me with learning how to one day run my own show.
There are a variety of internal controls that a company or organization can employ and that may be carried over to self-employment. Working with an employer until you understand good internal controls can be critical to one day managing your own self-employed work.
From particular filing systems and software use, to inventory management, security and documentation procedures, cash controls, loss control, and more, looking at how a successful employer is doing things can be a valuable teaching instrument from which you can take examples when managing your own operation.
Budgeting and tracking
When working for yourself, you may find that being able to look back is just as valuable as being forward looking. This means that budgeting, as well as income and expense tracking, can be key financial instruments.
A current employer might have systems in place to help them conduct such planning and tracking activities. Gauging how they forecast for future expenses, as well as how they accumulate data on costs and income to determine things like cost per product produced, labor expenses, and profit margin can be extremely useful once out on your own.
Accounts receivable and payable
Successfully managing accounts receivable and payable can be integral components to sustaining cashflow and remaining a self-employed person. A current employer could be a great environment in which to learn more about such aspects of operating a business.
Working with an accounting department or with the person in charge of such aspects of business management could have you ready to one day take on and manage such tasks yourself. Learning how to prepare and send invoices, contact customers regarding outstanding payments, document your collection efforts, and keep collection times to a minimum may be pertinent aspects to your new role.
Meanwhile, on the payables side, understanding how to organize bills, ensure proper payments and payment timeframes, track payments and payment dates, dispute mistakes, and reconcile processed payments can help ensure that bill collectors aren’t on your tail.
So while you still have the chance, being able to watch and learn from a current employer could be a great opportunity to build the skills necessary to one day successfully operate your own business.