5 Things About Making Money That No One Ever Tells You

Whether you're making money online, at home or on salary, remember these five important lessons about making money that nobody ever tells you.

Do you remember the first time you made money?

I recall a particular instance in which I painstakingly restored the dusty lawn furniture from our garage to its former sparkling glory for a grand total of five dollars.

Unfortunately, my handsome sum dwindled down to nothing while writing out thank you cards the next day. Each mistake and subsequent cross out cost me twenty-five cents of what I’d earned. Tough life lesson learned.

Some more successful early earnings occasions also come to mind. A surprisingly lucrative lemonade stand being one of the best.

There was even an attempt at entrepreneurship when my mother suggested monetizing my hobby of creating elaborate, holiday-themed scavenger hunts. But being a child with no means of transportation and other logistical necessities, the entrepreneurial itch had to wait another ten years to manifest.

By the time I got my first real paycheck working as a summer camp counselor, I had already formed some rudimentary scripts of what it meant to make money, however ill informed…


  • Pay is commensurate with your position and experience.
  • Salary is set by your employer.
  • Making more than six figures means you have a ‘good’ job.


By the time I graduated college, I’d adapted some more misinformed ideas about money. Namely that I’d never be able make much because I wanted to pursue my passion  (and for whatever reason, passion and paycheck were mutually exclusive in my mind).

While some aspects of my previously formed financial scripts may be true in part, I’ve since come to realize that…

More than anything else – education, experience, job title or employer – how much money you make is dictated by you.

So to my younger self, fellow millennials, soon-to-be gen Z job seekers and anyone else out there who feels trapped by the limitations of their current income, let me share with you my newfound rules for making money.


5 Things to Know About Making Money


  • YOU Set the Salary Bar 


That’s right, even your first full-time salary can and should be dictated by you.

A recent survey by NerdWallet and Looksharp found that only 38 percent of recent graduates negotiated with their employers upon receiving a job offer.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of employers said they were willing to increase first-salary offers by five to ten percent during negotiations. That’s leaving a lot of money on the table!

Negotiating an initial pay raise isn’t just about making more money in the moment. It’s also about setting yourself up for future growth.

Your initial salary will serve as the anchor from which you negotiate future raises, making your starting salary, arguably, the most important of your career.

A report from the New York Federal Reserve supports this notion, finding that lifetime earnings are largely determined in your 20s, as the majority of earnings growth happens in that first decade of your working years.

So don’t be shy. Set your salary bar high from the start!


  • You Don’t Have to Wait for a Raise


If you want a raise, don’t sit around counting down the months until you can “appropriately” ask for one.

Prove yourself to be a top performer now.

Track the work you do, tangibly show how you improve the bottom line and ask for a raise based on that performance.

No need to wait until a standard 12-month check-in to renegotiate if you’re adding value worthy of a pay bump today. Check out these quick tips to help you earn your next pay raise…



  • You Can Job Hop


Employees who stay at a company for over two years, on average, earn 50% less over the course of their lifetime, reports Forbes.

Jumping from job to job may have been resume suicide in the past, but today, it’s become a powerful tool for increasing earnings.

Without an existing anchor salary with your new employer, you can ask for anything, even if it’s twice what you were making before.

Sure, you should keep your salary asks grounded in reality, researching similar positions, locations and corresponding pay levels on sites like PayScale and Glassdoor, but being bold in your income efforts by seeking opportunities elsewhere when present opportunities fall short can provide a major payoff.


  • Your Worth Is Separate From What Someone Pays You


I’m an avid believer in “charging your worth”, but I’ve found the implied connection between “worth” and “you” in that phrase to be a bit problematic.

When we say, “charge what you’re worth”, it’s easy to start confusing a monetary value like your salary with your self-worth, and goodness knows that’s a slippery slope. Instead, charge what your work is worth.

It’s also important not to discount context when talking price point. For example, if I write something for another blogger, I know I can’t charge what I’d charge a Fortune 500 company – it’s a completely different market and that plays a major role in shaping the price point.

It’s not someone’s budget that defines what your work is worth, just as it’s not how much you’re paid that defines your self-worth


  • Your Money Making Endeavors Are Unlimited 


I used to think I was limited in what I could earn because I was an artist. Then I thought I was limited by my degree. Then I thought I was limited because of my experience (or lack thereof). Then I thought I was limited by the budgets of my employers. Now I realize that the only limitations to my money making endeavors are my own.

The permission to take opportunities and demand more ultimately has to come from you. When you create value and demand around what you do, money inevitably follows – no specific age, experience, job title or employer required.

When you create value and demand around what you do, money inevitably followsClick To Tweet


What were your initial ideas around making money? Are you still holding onto any limiting money making beliefs?



32 responses to “5 Things About Making Money That No One Ever Tells You

  1. My ideas on making money have changed a lot since I became self-employed three years ago. Where I once felt limited by my position, I now feel like my earning power is unlimited. If I can dream it up, I can make it happen! For me, the biggest challenge now is just finding the time.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your last point. I work a full-time job and have two side hustles in the writing market. I am now looking at another side hustle that is unrelated to writing. There is no limit on what your side hustles can be based on what you studied in school or what your full-time job is. I am learning that having diversified streams of income is the best way to achieve financial security and boost your income.

  3. I failed at #1 when I first entered the work force. I had a long job hunt and had my opportunity just pop up. Because I didn’t want to risk losing the job (which there is no way I would have if I negotiated another 5-10%) I just went with what they gave me. There is a misconception out there that if you have little experience, you should just take whatever they give you. I fell for this but plan on not falling for it again in the future.

    1. That’s unfortunately a mindset that keeps a lot of young people from negotiating their first salary. The study mentioned also showed that 90 some percent of employers would not rescind an offer if someone tried to negotiate.

  4. The only real mindset I grew up with was to work like crazy and save every penny. Which isn’t the worst one in the world, but man I missed out on some good, non-stressed time. My senior year, I actually worked 3 days a week (Weds afternoon-night and Sat/Sun all day) plus halfway through the year I took a month-long temp job. All this around two extracurriculars and AP classes. Then that summer I worked full-time at a movie theater and around 20-35 hours a week at a Red Robin. The next summer I did the same.

    At $5 an hour — plus a portion of servers’ tips at Red Robin — I’m not sure that much stress and exhaustion was worth the money accrued.

    1. SUCH an important lesson learned. I continued that kind of relentless hustle throughout my early 20s before finally figuring out a way to create income on my own terms. I guess that early hustle paid off though in establishing the habit of hard work.

  5. Because my parents were very “job-oriented” I was very curious how some of the wealthier people made their money. A lot had good jobs, but there were some that owned businesses, made investments, and took advantage of opportunities to increase their income. This has stayed with me and each year I focus on increasing my income over what I made the previous year. With side hustles to supplement income and websites like GlassDoor to give employees a leg up, there really is no reason I can’t increase my income year-over-year indefinitely.

    1. Thank goodness for the internet and all these resources and opportunities we have at our finger tips. Without them, I’d probably just assume that salary is set and resign myself to being broke forever.

  6. I got my first job at 14 and I LOVED making money for myself and for a long time I just assumed that I would make money by working for someone else. Two years ago I became my own boss and now I love the fact that I have no limits to making money other than the amount of energy I put into the effort.

  7. I have been a victim (and occasionally still am) of placing limits on myself because of my degree. Many professionals are like this, believing that the only income worth earning is from the degree they worked so hard to get. This is very self limiting, because just having one stream of income, no matter how large, is very very risky. One disaster can totally wipe you out. I’ve found that the best use of my current income is to actually leverage some of it into creating other streams of income, be it from blogging, writing, real estate, investing or some other venture that may help me make some money.

    I also want to get out of debt and achieve independence faster than my income will allow, so I have no choice but to get creative and make some more money.

    1. Diversifying my income streams has definitely proved one of the most powerful ways of boosting my earnings and reaching my financial goals. I couldn’t care less whether they’re related to my major or not.

  8. I believe many feel limited when working for someone else, too afraid to ask for a raise or to negation during a hire. What’s the worst that can happen, someone tells you “no.” Working freelance or being your own boss opens up the income potential, giving you the results of what you put in.

  9. I remember my first “actual” job (not babysitting) was a part time job at Domino’s pizza when I was 16. When you clocked out it would tell you how much you made. That was my favourite part of the shift! I clearly remember working a fairly full shift and seeing $50 pop up on the screen. It seems tiny now but at the time, it was crazy exciting!!
    I think you are so right about moving jobs when you are young. I stayed with an employer for awhile and I got really comfortable, that is not always a good thing!

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