Federer was speaking at the ATP Finals pre-tournament press conference, a competition he has qualified for 16 years in a row.
The Swiss star has won the season-ending event a record six times – once more than Novak Djokovic, who is the favourite this time around.
However, when reflecting back to the start of his career, Federer explained the difficulties of first having to be the boss of his own people.
Now the 20-time Grand Slam winner travel with his nearest and dearest, but it was not always that way.
“It’s awkward at the beginning, to be honest,” Federer said.
“Being young and paying salaries is something that is very unusual.
“That’s why I enjoyed the time where I had support from the Federation and I didn’t have to worry about these things.
“At one point you start winning your own money and stop living off the back of the Federation.
“We tried to come to an arrangement where I start paying my own coach and started to move forward that way.
“Nowadays it is normal but I think the transition is kind of tricky.
“From being taught what to do, and you not paying them, it’s logical you listen to them.
“But when you start paying the salaries you feel if I don’t like it I can get rid of them.
“It is so wrong. I was lucky I never thought that way or felt that way.
“I always looked at it as they are older, more experienced and know what they’re talking about.
“I required their services to become a better player.
“They told me what I don’t want to hear and I think that’s the tricky situation.
“For me, I have learned to cope with the career and to say human resources. But everybody has their own battles.
“I think I navigated well through it but I also needed help. I have surrounded myself by great coaches and people.”
Federer gets his ATP Finals underway against Kei Nishikori on Sunday (8pm GMT).