I sat in my condo, back in 2007, as a 20 something year old imagining the day I would finally make $50k.
$50k seemed like an eternity to get to but I was determined to make it happen.
I would start by calculating how much a paycheck would be for that amount. Then there were the ideas of everything I would do with that money from clothes, furniture, maybe another trip?
Shoot forward to today, I laugh at how I’ve limited myself back then to only $50k.
Well in 2014, I increased my pay by $10k, then in 2015 by $20k, and now in 2018 by $40k. How could this be? That’s $70k added to my original salary amount.
I accidentally blew that $50k goal out of the water.
Before you go, “well it’s easy for her (enter whatever excuse comes to mind)”, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as hard as one might think to accomplish.
So just how can you get yourself out of your money rut and boost your income, even by $10k?
Well, here is how I was able to get to over a six-figure income:
Change Your Desperate Thoughts About Money
Every one of those finance books you read talks about how you must change the way you think about money before you start to see an increase in your funds. (If they don’t, then put that book down and walk away!)
Not only do you need to change your negative thinking about money but also the desperate thoughts about money.
Change your desperate thoughts to thoughts like these:
Time is way more valuable than overtime/holiday pay
I use to think holiday pay was the best pay.
You look forward to that fattened paycheck that you've already spent when it finally comes.
Ever since I became a mom, time with my son has been huge for me. No longer will I sacrifice holidays for holiday pay.
Time for yourself and time with your family is so much more valuable.
Your time is the biggest commodity you have. Spend it wisely. Don’t cheapen it by working your life away and missing great memories.
Don’t limit yourself from good opportunities
So, what do you do to make more money if you don’t work holiday pay or overtime?
You start building value to increase your pay for the time that you’re already working.
When opportunities come up to increase your pay, check them out.
Check them out but don’t over analyze them.
Over analyzing can lead to being quickly financially paralyzed. The company may not hit everything on your wish list but if it gives you a real lifestyle increase, then take it.
Where most people go wrong is not looking at the opportunity at all.
Maybe because they are comfortable where they are right now. Maybe they don’t recognize that their true work value is worth more than what they’re making right now.
Whatever it is, this can be an easy trap that keeps you complacent and broke.
2. Develop yourself along the way
In order to build our value in the workforce, we must develop ourselves personally.
Jim Rohn states “I’ve found that income does not far exceed personal development”.
Higher paying roles need to have stronger skills in different areas than the typical employee roles. A lot of these skills don’t show up as requirements on the job description but they are definitely required.
You might be an employee right now, but you may be eyeing for a management position soon.
Work on developing yourself before you go after that position so that you have the skills already developed. And continue to develop yourself even after getting the position because challenges come up and you have to know exactly how to handle them as a manager.
So, develop skills in emotional intelligence, leadership, communication, networking, or improve upon your company skills, any of these will boost you into a higher valued job.
Grab a book on better communication, watch a meditation video on youtube, or learn a better way to do the job that you’re already doing.
It may seem mundane now, but you’d be surprised how much you stand out in an interview because you can communicate effectively how you overcame a work crisis.
3. Never Tell Them Your Current Salary
I actually learned this lesson the hard way.
People love to ask what you are making at your current job. They use that figure to base what your worth.
What you currently make doesn’t actually matter to this new opportunity. Your skills and job requirements are different for the new position, especially if you’re moving up into a manager position.
Ramit Sethi had a great quote that helps with this exact issue, “I’m very well compensated at my current job, but I’m sure we can get to the salary at a later time. Right now, I’d like find out if this is a good fit for you and a good fit for me.”
What I like about this is that the words “very well compensated” means different numbers to different people. This implies that you’re high value without actually putting a figure out there before it’s necessary.
Don’t leave your job for less than a $10k increase, unless you are miserable at your current job.
Seriously, anything less than a $10k raise, you will not notice much on your paycheck and it would be much easier to ask your current employer for a $5k raise instead.
$5k to a mid to large company is not a huge amount to give up in order to limit turnover.
4. Be a Top Performer
This is probably the most important step of them all. You must be top value in order to get top value pay.
Even though they haven’t worked with you yet, people can smell top performers during an interview.
Because we do things differently, that small extra effort we do shows the company it’s worth taking us on.
So even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, still be a top performer. It’s good for your own self achievement at work and you can put your “wins” on an Achievement list.
Make an Achievement List
This achievement list is your gold mine.
Keep a list on hand that you periodically update with your big wins from work.
When you seal the deal on a big client for the firm, won a case in court, or got recognized in the company newsletter, write it on your achievement list.
You can use this for when you want to request a raise, or even when you have an interview for a new job to show them actual scenarios where you’ve been a top performer.
If you’re a top performer, you will have great "wins" at your job and then you will more than likely forget about them. (I’ve done this lots of times)
Having an achievement list reminds you of how awesome you are.
And this is especially needed when you have those self-doubt moments at work.
So, if you haven’t started an achievement list, definitely start one now!
Stay in the Same Industry to be the Expert in that Industry
Mortgage expert, Jeff Asbell, said in a prior interview for Money Noggin, that he’s noticed those that had the highest pay were usually those that stayed in the same industry.
This is mainly because you become an expert in that niche.
You may not stay with the same company, but if you stay in the same industry your knowledge grows more finite and you become more valuable.
So now you know exactly what to do to get yourself a substantial pay increase. Did anything resonate with you that you can do right now to get closer towards a bigger raise?
Question how you might be limiting yourself right now. Don’t let your excuses get the best of you. And know that this is possible.
Hey, if a single mom can do this, you can definitely do this.