Whether you’re in high school or have a freshly-printed college diploma in hand, navigating the working world can be a little confusing—especially when you’re first getting started. Building your own personal brand takes time and you won’t be able to achieve influencer status overnight, which means most entrepreneurs need to put in a bit of elbow grease to make ends meet as they wait for their big ideas to take off.
And that’s totally fine. Take the story of Mike Rosenbaum, for example. Just a few years ago, he was a 15-year-old teenager scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins; now he’s the founder of his own successful startup. Everyone has to start somewhere.
If you’ve just landed your first job and have begun embarking on a new journey into employment, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Stay square with Uncle Sam
The single biggest annoyance when it comes to working wages? Taxes. No one wants to see their hard-earned money deducted from their paycheck and apportioned to the government. But even though it’s painful to see your money withheld, you still need to do it. Otherwise, you might find yourself in some hot water and end up owing way more in penalties than you would have had to pay in the first place.
Make sure you have all your necessary paperwork filed away with the correct information. If you’re working as an independent contractor or consultant in the U.S., for example, you’ll need to submit an IRS Form W-9 to report your earnings. The business hiring your services is only required to supply you with a Form 1099-MISC if they’ve paid you over $600 within a given tax year, so it’s your responsibility to keep track of your tax obligations.
Build your network
Back in the day, LinkedIn was nothing more than a simple resume-sharing platform. Now, it’s a fully matured social network for professionals that you should definitely be using to accomplish your goals and move up the ladder.
The platform continues to grow and evolve, so read up on how to adapt to the new LinkedIn to reap the rewards of lead generation, audience building, and online growth. Even if you’re not trying to build your personal brand, LinkedIn is a great way to brush shoulders with other people in your industry, gain advice, and boost your visibility. When it comes time to move onto your next job, it’s more than likely your future employer will type your name into Google and do a quick search. We hope that nothing incriminating pops up, but if it did, a solid LinkedIn profile displaying your achievements, promotions, designations, etc. could mean the difference between a job offer and a missed opportunity.
Improve your skills
The last thing you want to do is become stagnant. Despite the new job beneath your belt, you need to stay hungry, continue to learn, and always strive to be the best version of yourself. Looking for a promotion or raise? Go above and beyond by taking online courses related to your industry to show your employer your passion.
Work for something you care about
We get it. When you’re just working a part-time (or full-time) job to pay the bills and save some cash, you’re probably not going to be in love with the company you’re working for. It’s more of an ends to a means situation. And while you might not be with your forever-employer, we definitely encourage you to find something or someone that makes you feel fulfilled. Interested in the cannabis industry? Get in on the ground floor with a company like ENDO. Curious about what you can earn by pursuing a career in photography? Research and compare jobs on sites like GlassDoor to see what that may look like. When all else fails and you find yourself slaving away for an employer whom you can’t stand, make sure to set up a side hustle that’ll motivate you to pack up and move on. If working your new job leaves you unsatisfied, it’s time to start learning how to become an influencer so you can ditch that dead-end job sooner rather than later.
Welcome to the world of employment! Highs and lows aside, if you follow this advice, you’ll be well on your way to crushing your financial goals in no time.
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