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