Three Essential Skills to Develop in Preparation for Self-employment

A lot of employees have wanted to work for themselves, especially if they work long hours under demanding supervisors. Founding a company can also serve as a form of legacy; if you worked as a general contractor for years, wouldn’t you eventually wonder how to start your own roofing business and bring your vision and values to the industry? But self-employment isn’t easy; here are some tips to help you prepare for taking that big step.

Making connections

When people think of making new connections, it’s often in the social sense. And while that’s part of it, networking isn’t the only way of putting things together to create something greater than the whole. As Steve Jobs once said, “creativity is just connecting things.” If you’re going to forge your own path, not only are you going to need a solid foundation of expertise in your chosen field; you’d also do well to stay informed about other related fields, and develop some new skills.

One of the most accessible ways to begin expanding your knowledge base is through reading. Many people actually spend a lot of time reading, but how much of it is useful? Instead of spending half an hour following frivolous blog posts or social media discussions, reading books or listening to podcasts by industry leaders will help you pick up a great habit and commence learning useful new knowledge. In a similar way, networking can help you learn by interacting with people of different backgrounds and perhaps finding mentorship or someone you can shadow.



Sometimes, employees who daydream about becoming their own boss envision a situation where they can sit back, relax, and enjoy a lot of free time. In fact, anyone who has struck out on their own will soon find that the exact opposite is required in order to succeed. Self-employment is not going to lead anywhere without self-discipline. You may be relieved to get away from your current boss, but your new boss will have to be demanding, motivating, and strict.

The good news is that most employees in any sort of job will have opportunities to deliberately practice their skills related to time management and task prioritization, and come up with a system for staying organized. In fact, if you pay attention to the managers at any workplace, chances are you can learn a few tips from them – after all, it’s their job to ensure that their workers are well-disciplined and motivated. Taking on a personal creative project is another way to test your self-management ability. For example, if you want to launch and monetize a blog, then try writing and posting one article per day for an entire month.

Financial management

When businesses begin to grow and handle a large volume of transactions, they may employ or consult with a professional accountant, but in the startup stage the founder is mostly responsible for everything related to the financial aspect.

Most people can already practice financial management in their personal lives. Tracking personal earnings, expenses, and asset values with a budget app or worksheet will improve awareness of financial inputs and deductions. Reading blogs or books on finance by entrepreneurs, or taking online courses in your spare time will also help you develop this skill until you’re ready to set out.

When you’re determined to work for no one but yourself, working to polish these aspects of personal development will prepare you well for the challenges ahead.

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