Start Off Strong in Your New Career


You finally did it!

You graduated from nail school, but now what?

The first thing on your mind is probably finding a job, but where and how?  Many new nail techs are clueless about what to do after graduation, other than finding a job, but there are more factors to consider in your first year that could be the foundation for longevity in the beauty business.

Let’s look at eight things you should do in your first year as a professional nail technician that will set the pace for success.


Work in an established salon first. 

Speaking of finding a job – where you decide to work the first year can make or break you. It can make a huge difference in your outlook of the business and set the tone for your entire career.

 For example, renting a suite with no established clientele can be stressful during your first year. No cash coming in, coupled with the fact that you aren’t going to be great at your craft straight out of the gate, can wreak havoc on your new start. Starting in an established salon or spa guarantees income, clients, and help from veteran techs. Being in an established salon helps you to grow, without being stressed about your immediate future.


Find a mentor. 

We all need a mentor, especially when just starting a new career.

Whether it’s an old instructor or an experienced nail tech you know at your new salon, ask someone to be your mentor. Having a mentor to talk to or ask questions about the business, technique or other issues that may arise can be very helpful and insightful as you grow.


Purchase quality tools and implements. 

Buying high-quality tools and equipment in the first year will save you a lot of money over time. Although you may not be making a lot of money during your first year, it is still important that you invest in quality professional tools because they hold up better and longer, they can have a positive impact on the result of your work and you don’t have to keep re-purchasing the same tools repeatedly, thus wasting money your could be saving.


Learn, learn, and learn. 

Taking time each day to study or learn something new is crucial in this business. Invest in classes (offline and online) to get your skills up, learn new techniques and prepare for the next opportunity. Skills pay the bills, and the more you learn the better you will be.

Often major nail brands hold product training's in various cities to educate, and introduce nail techs to their products in hopes that they will purchase and use them for use in their practice. Many times these classes are free, and you can attend simply for providing an email address. Sign up for e-newsletters and check trade magazines to see if there are product training's available near you and go.

It’s a great opportunity to learn and network.


Watch YouTube. 

Sure, this is not advice that you’d thought you’d get here, but video is truly the next best thing to having hands-on training. There are tons of instructional videos on YouTube on every nail topic you can imagine. If there’s something you want to learn how to do, YouTube is the answer.

Watch it often!


Practice daily. 

No doubt that when you first start working you are likely going to have a lot of downtime. Use that time to your advantage and practice the basics everyday.

 If you can do the basics very well, you can master any advanced technique, honestly. Practice applying polish (to fingers and toes) on yourself and others, filing nails, giving a good high shine buff, getting heels and callouses smooth, and other basic practical procedures. Additionally, practice advanced basic services too like getting acrylic consistency just right and applying without bumps.


Start building your brand. 

I know it may seem too soon, but it’s never too early to start building a personal brand.

 Create social media pages and start putting your work out there, especially if you do nail art. It’s going to increase your visibility in the industry as a whole and put you in a better position to attract new clients. Branding yourself in your first year will also help to establish longevity and set you apart from others in the industry. 


Ask for help. 

One of the awful misconceptions about this business is that established techs are too busy to help new techs.

This is so not true!

Yes, veteran nail techs are busy, but they will make time to help you. Find someone in your salon who is great at what they do, and ask them if they can show you new processes in the downtime. Don’t be shy about it, don’t assume that just because they are busy they won’t help you, just ask! After they say yes, work around their schedule, even if you have to go in on your day off. Do whatever it takes.

The first year can be tough but with a plan and a support system in place it doesn’t have to be a tough experience. Implement these eight suggestions into your one-year plan and watch your career soar!