We’ve all heard about and have seen the same common story from the majority of young adults trying to survive in today’s economy. They are usually struggling to pay their bills without even a sense of their financial future. A good chunk of young adults are fresh out of college, with fresh debt, with little to no fresh income. Many have resorted to staying in, or fleeing back to jobs they have previously had for a means to scrape by. For the most part, this is considered the new normal for working citizens contributing to society. The focus has been primarily of their current financial situation with little to no thought on what lies ahead. There needs to be a shift of how people view and allocate their resources in order to create a steady, sustainable lifestyle in today’s economy.

One such focus should be on the current monthly cash flow that each individual has. Think of your career-self as your own personal business. A business is successful primarily by lowering its costs and increasing its profits.   The same should be said for each individual. There tends to be a “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality. This refers to the desire to acquire just as much, if not more, than what everyone else has in a group or area. It involves the whole gambit of items; from materialistic items, to intangible assets. Most, if not all, cost money. Young people entering the job market are no different, myself included. But furthering myself into debt I began to ask myself the golden question, “Do I really need these things?” You’d be surprised on how much money you would save if you asked yourself that question before purchasing any item.

By reevaluating your needs vs wants, you can reduce your monthly cash flow (monthly bills) by a substantial amount. One example is cable television. This is a monthly expense that is completely unnecessary for basic survival, plus it is mostly filled with junk shows. (That’s my personal opinion, who wants to watch reality TV shows all day??) A good alternative is to pay for a monthly internet bill and subscribe to Netflix or any internet streaming options, which most of today’s youth already have. Another unnecessary monthly expense is having a gym membership. The only time having such a membership is if it is getting fully utilized. I can say at least for myself, that I did not fully use my gym membership when I had it.  Most gyms force the member to sign a contract which commits them to paying a monthly payment for a specific amount of time. They do this only to retain each customer; for a fear that they may change gyms or cancel their membership altogether when the customers aren’t using it as regularly as they would like.

With regards to increasing profits for your own career-self business, adapting common strategies that most businesses do today would undoubtedly be beneficial. These strategies include:

  • Marketing and networking yourself so that you put your name out there to gain attention and recognition for whatever skills you may have to offer an employer
  •  Increasing your “product breadth” which I refer to in this case as learning a variety new trade skills so that you are more valuable to employers
  • Increasing your “product depth” which I refer to as continuing to learn from the trade skills you already possess, so that you would be sought out over others because of an increased skill level
  • Being more efficient in everything you do so that your own personal productivity increases
  • Start seeking out passive income opportunities so that your cash flow is not from a single source (diversifying your portfolio)

Successful businesses today do not remain stagnant; they are constantly evaluating their situation in whatever it may be and adjusting accordingly to the current economic state.

Marketing and networking your self today is easier than ever with the progress that social media has had. The most obvious of social media sites that is directly relevant, is LinkedIn. This is a great site to upload and update your accomplishments and to show the world what you have to offer. The networking is phenomenal because it is accessed by most people and employers in the world. I highly recommend that young people today establish and regularly update a LinkedIn profile. It will prove to be extremely beneficial. Increasing your “product breadth and depth,” you will better your appeal to employers and will most likely see increased job opportunities with higher pay. Trade schools are definitely an option, but there are also many different classes and seminars in most cities that are usually cheap or free where people can go to learn new trade skills as well. By learning and being more efficient in everything you do, you will start to notice the benefits stemming from this such as more job opportunities with higher pay.

Last but not least, seeking out passive income streams is a great way to secure your financial situation. By doing so, you won’t be relying on a single income source to pay all your monthly bills. It will lessen stress and alleviate dependencies on waiting until certain paydays in order to pay the monthly bills. There are many different ways of getting passive income, from owning rental properties, to working online stemming from owning on online business or working for already established websites. Peer to Peer lending is a growing way of earning revenue; however it is at the moment considered more risky than other options because it is not regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. I will elaborate on each of these options on a future post, in the meantime, the message I would want all readers to get from this is that there are many ways to be financially successful in today’s economy that does not necessarily involve the traditional daily 9-5 grind.