There’s an important conversation taking place right now about the pay wage disparity between women and their male counterparts.  This topic impacts millions of people and hopefully, the public conversations that are taking place will bring about real change in how pay wages are determined.

Until then, I’d like to give you a few tips based on my experience as an HR Manager on how you can increase your personal salary.
Over my relatively short stint in corporate America, I was involved in countless salary conversations.  I’ve seen it all. Salary negotiations at hire, merit increase convos, etc.  I’ve also had access to the salaries of thousands of employees (including those who were above my pay grade).

Based on my experience, there are certain instances in which you have control over increasing your salary and other instances where your options are limited.  I’d like to share my best advice on how you can maximize your earning potential.

First things first, the worst way to grow your salary in corporate America, in my opinion, is by working for the same company for countless years.  You may think this an admirable act. But it’s one of the most ineffective strategies and will hurt you in the long run.  When I first was granted access to employee salaries, one thing I realized is that the most tenured employees weren’t always the highest paid.  I was shocked to find employees who have been with the company for decades making what they make.  I didn’t quite understand.

After a while, I realized that working the same position for extended periods of time could be detrimental to your earning potential.  If you look at your career path from a strategic point of view, one of your ultimate goals should be to maximize your earning potential.  In my experience, it’s darn near impossible to maximize your potential if you work with the same employer (in the same position) for more than 3 years.  Their goal is to get the most out of you while increasing your wage by an average 3% year after year.  And, if the company is struggling, pay increases might even limited.

Meanwhile, others are taking the strategic approach and are making more than you (even if you’re working harder). Whenever I brought on a new employee, I tried to be as fair as possible and pay them around the same dollar amount as those currently in the organization with around the same amount of experience.  With that said, we still paid someone a little extra if they worked for a reputable or well-regarded company.  The perception was that you were bringing solid experience with you.  But if you grow up in the company, your internal experience isn’t as valued as the experience one brings with them.

If you want to make as much as possible while working for the same company, your only option is to take on multiple promotions.  I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes.  I’ve processed pay increases for people who went from making mediocre wages to over six figures plus bonuses. They maximized their earning potential by taking on additional responsibilities.   If you don’t plan on becoming one of the big wigs, there are other ways to impact your earings.

When I first entered the workplace, I turned down a job similar position at a major hospital because I figured the corporate world open up more opportunities.  Even though the other position offered a higher starting wage, I guessed that swimming in a bigger pond could offer me more opportunities to climb the corporate ladder.  If you work for a company without much room to grow, you should weigh the pros and cons of continuing down your current path.  Observe others who’ve worked at the organization for many years.  Are they constantly complaining about how much they make?  This is a telltale sign. Yes, everyone wishes they can make more, but if people who’ve been there longer than you think they are underpaid, you might be looking at your potential future.

Another option you have is to just ask for a raise.  In my opinion, simply asking for more money isn’t the most effective option.  Most often, we ask for raises from a place of feeling lack.  Sometimes we feel underappreciated or taken advantage of.  Because of this, our message isn’t received by upper management the way we’d like.  It just looks like we’re (selfishly) asking for more.  Timing is everything.  Negotiating your salary after a stellar review is much more effective than asking for a raise out of the blue.

An alternative strategy is for you to take on positions where your earnings are directly tied to your performance.  Most folks like to stay away from positions with sales goals.  Understandably, you’re afraid that won’t do well.  But, on the flip side, people who do well in sales are some of the wealthiest. It’s simple, if you bring more money into the company, you’ll get a cut.  Nowadays there are plenty of resources and videos online that can teach you to become effective at generating sales.  I believe everyone should have some exposure to driving sales.  It’s an ultra-valuable asset to have.  Selling a skill set that will earn you money for years to come.

While you’re still employed, take a look around at how much other organizations are paying for “new talent.”  Corporate America believes in paying the best for high-quality talent.  If you’re performing well at your job now, you might be considered rare talent by the next potential employer.  The key is to do exceedingly well where you are now, then move into a higher paying role internally or see how much you’re worth to someone else.  The times when I experienced the greatest pay hikes in my career was when I left for my employer to take on a position with greater responsibility somewhere else.

Ten years ago, the only suggestion I had for those who wanted to earn more was to strive for a promotion.  Nowadays, I invite you to explore the idea of generating money on your own.  You don’t have to quit your job. But working isn’t the only way to make money.  When I used to process payroll, I realized that some employees lived and died by their paycheck, while others saw it as another of their many income streams. 

Prior to leaving my position, I asked my supervisor for a raise.  I did it as a sign of solidarity because my peers were also asking for pay increases.  In the back of my mind, I knew that these increases weren’t likely and, honestly, I didn’t care because my business was growing at a decent pace.

In 2018, your goal should be to generate income (no matter how big/small) from a source other than your employer.  You can start small by saying, “I’d like to earn enough non-paycheck income to fill my gas tank.”  Then progress from there.   Just know that we live in an ideal environment to create the type of income we desire. The barrier to entry is low so why not take this opportunity to develop a side hustle that helps elevate your lifestyle?

I’m currently in the early stages of (hopefully) purchasing an investment property.  As a sat across the table from my mortgage advisor, I was told that my 2017 tax returns would be a major factor in whether I qualify to take on the financial burden of yet another mortgage.

Because I’m self-employed, lenders are a bit more cautious to loan me money. While sitting across the table from her, I reflected on my entrepreneurial journey.  Perhaps some of you would like to work for yourself one day.  We sometimes daydream about all the amazing wonders of self-employment. Nowadays, the dream of becoming an entrepreneur is heavily glamourized. But we should also discuss some of the realities of this type of lifestyle.
The first milestone that you’ll experience once leaving your job is that first Friday that passes with no direct deposit.  I’ll never forget that feeling of logging into my checking account on paycheck Friday and realizing that I’d be responsible for generating my income from now on.

If at all possible, I recommend that you save around one year of expenses before taking your big leap.  I saved by setting up automatic drafts into a specified savings account.  This means less disposable income leading up to the decision.  I didn’t care. Too me, freedom was more important than having a lot of disposable income.  I also believed that eventually, my income would recover.

Once I got past the shock of not getting paid, I had to overcome the next obstacle…..making money.

My plan of action was simple.

Mimic the actions of others who were making money in a similar way.  Basically, I learned from others who had online e-commerce stores.  Here’s what I realized.  My actions when I still had a full-time job were very different once that paycheck was gone.  When we still have a security (financial) blanket, we limit ourselves dramatically.  We think small and do the absolute minimum.  But when our livelihood depends on our success, our actions shift.  If they don’t, then we’ll find ourselves back on the job market.

You can no longer take these tiny little baby steps that you’re used to.  Your side hustle must now pay the bills.  I found it necessary to take more risks and focus on actions that had a greater impact on the bottom line.  If you can take on this mindset before you quit your job, you save yourself a lot of heartaches.

Another thing you’ll have to deal with as an entrepreneur is when your business doesn’t make money or when sales dip dramatically.  I’ve had times when sales suddenly decline out of nowhere. I wasn’t sure what caused it and if sales would ever come back.  Now, that I’ve entered my 3rd year of working for myself, I realize that this is part of a cycle.  Whenever I want to boost revenue, I do two things:

  1.  Shift my mindset to focus on creating the outcome I want.
  2. I take a lot of action.  I do everything I can think of to turn things around.  
Low sales don’t feel good but I’ve come to realize that it’s part of the process.  Sometimes revenue exceeds expectations, sometimes not.  As an entrepreneur, it’s important to remember that we have control over the results.  When we work for an employer, we often feel powerless over our income. Our paycheck rarely fluctuates and if we want more, we’re at the mercy of the decision makers.   We have to shake this mindset when working for ourselves and realize that our results are up to us.
Lastly, the other reality you’ll face as an entrepreneur is what I’m dealing with now.  In order to be seen as financially stable by the banking industry, we must show lots of income and growth.  If I worked at a job, earning the same salary for 2 years, that would probably be no problem.  But the same principle doesn’t apply to an entrepreneur.  We must always be growing our bottom line.   So if you plan on making any big purchases within 2-5 years after transitioning to your business full time, please keep that in mind as motivation to push yourself harder.  Now that I’m aware of this higher standard, I’m determined to 10X my results.  
With all of this said, I wouldn’t give up my experience over the past couple of years of anything.  All of those times of concern about how to launch + run a successful business is nothing compared to the highs that I’ve experienced over the last 2 years.  Nothing compares to having complete freedom over your time.  Not to mention that there’s no cap on your earning potential.  It doesn’t exist.  Stress levels are much lower and the highs are absolutely extraordinary.  

Just before the new year, I woke up early one morning to a small, still voice.  The voice commanded me to reach out to a contact that I made years ago regarding a potential business partnership.  After our initial meeting, we fell out of touch.

But, for some reason, the voice wanted me to reach out to him again. While in a sleepy haze, I agreed that sending a text to this person was really a good idea.  Do you wanna know what happened next? 

Absolutely nothing.

Once I was fully awake and fell into my daily routine. I somehow talked myself out of taking that action.  Later, I realized that this was a repeated pattern of behavior and if I continued to follow this path, I would be creating self-imposed limits on my life.

Here’s why.
You may or may not notice that there’s an internal dialogue that’s always running in your head.  Most of the time, our internal dialogue is making judgments on situations and people.  Other times the voice is repeating negative thoughts or mentally verbalizing our fears.

But, every once in a while, it comes up with some brilliant suggestions.

For some reason, we fully trust and follow the negative suggestions yet completely ignore our voice when it says something that could push our lives forward.  For instance, the small voice might suddenly advise you that you should work out today.  Then, for whatever reason, the same voice will proceed to talk you out of leaving the comfort of your situation.  Which one do we listen to?

Typically, I find myself listening to the “lazy, fearful voice.” The one that subtly convinces me that everything is a bad idea……..even when it’s a great idea.

Like, there is absolutely no reason for me not to text him.  There were no negative consequences involved if I took that simple action.  But, for some reason, the comfortable voice decided that I should cancel the text.  In the book “The Slight Edge,” the author reminds us that it’s easy not to do what we should.  Because, by not doing it, we suffer no apparent consequences.  At least not at first glance. 

But the consequences exist. 

I might think to myself, “it’s no big deal if I don’t make the call.” But the reason why my subconscious prompted me to reach out in the first place is because partnering with him could help further my current results.   Unfortunately, each time I listen to the fearful voice, she becomes more trustworthy. It becomes easier to follow her instruction to do nothing. 

The other voice, the one with ideas that align with our vision, loses credibility each time we ignore it.  Day after day, this voice reminds us of what we can do to reach our goals.  Yet we don’t fully trust it. We think the worst will happen if we obeyed its instruction.  But, realistically, if we actually followed our gut, our lives would probably only move in the right direction. 

Are there risks involved? Probably, but we can always find ways to minimize the risks.  Once the risks are in check, we can look forward to the rewards.  I’m not talking about making reckless decisions. I’m talking about listening to those moments of brilliance the seem to show up from time to time.  In 2018, I want to listen to my gut more.   I want to trust the voice and allow it to bring me closer to my goals. 

When I have conversations with others, I sometimes notice that they too will dismiss their voice.  We all do it.  But we can also relate to suffering consequences of not following our inner voice.

We just have to remember our ultimate goal.  Then ask ourselves, “will this idea bring us closer or move us away from what we say we want?”  Let’s trust our intuition and see what unfolds from our new choices.

One annual tradition that I absolutely hate is when we turn our clocks back in the fall.  Suddenly, hours of sunlight is gone and our day is shortened considerably.  It just feels like I’m robbed of everything I can accomplish in a day.

Fun fact! Did you know that after December 21rst (winter solstice) we have been receiving about two minutes more of sunshine a day? Each day we’ll enjoy another minute or two of sunshine than the preceding day.  Before we know it, we’ll be experiencing longer days again.

When I first learned of this extra 2 minutes of sunshine a day, it made me think of a success principle that is out here changing lives.
I’ve spoken about this principle several times on here before.  It’s the Compound Effect.  I’m bringing up the topic again because:

  1. It’s the New Year and the Compound Effect is an annual tradition here.
  2. I recently received a message from someone who applied the principles of the Compound Effect to change her life.

If you don’t already know what the compound effect is. It’s basically the idea that small, daily consistent action has the power to produce massive results. This extra two minutes a day of sunshine is essentially the Compound Effect in action.

Check out this testimonial I received the other day via an Instagram direct message.

This is the second “Compound Effect Transformation” testimony message that I received.  The other Compound Effecter launched a successful business and transitioned from her full-time job.  This technique actually works!  Best of all, the process seems so effortless.

Let’s use this 2 minutes of extra sunshine per day as a trigger to apply the Compound Effect in a small way, each and every day.  What if you were to jump rope for 2 minutes today? Or applied 2 minutes of focused attention towards the things on your vision board.  Two minutes may seem not much, but if you add an additional 2 minutes the next day and continue on with this pattern, you’ll multiply your results.

I’ve decided to apply my two minutes towards building more muscle tone.  Just a few squats, and lunges here and there.  But I’ll build on my activities each day.

I also have a few bigger goals for the year ahead.  I’m figuring out which Compound Effect Activities need to take place on a regular basis to ensure my goals are achieved.  This is absolutely critical. At 6:00 pm every day, I take a look at the sky.  That’s when I realize that I can still see glimpses of sunlight and that mother nature is engaged in the principles of the compound effect.  This is my reminder (trigger) not to let a day go by without engaging in some type of small, consistent action.

A couple years back, I tried floatation tanks for the first time.  Before making the decision to take the plunge, I set aside time to check out the potential benefits.  I was most excited about the opportunity to experience complete sensory deprivation.  Because the water temperature is the same as our skin and you’re laying in total darkness, you are free for all external stimulation.

This (hopefully) results in the perfect environment to create the ultimate meditative state.  Which allows us to quiet the mind for creative problem-solving or visualization.  Sensory deprivation is awesome. But last night, I created a different type sensory experience that was far more powerful.
Since it was the last day of 2017, I decided to commemorate the transition into the new year. But, instead of going out, I stayed in an created what I termed as a “sensory enhancement experience.”  Whenever they talk about powerful visualization, they always suggest that we engage all of our senses. We have to feel as if the experience is real by activating feel good feelings.

I have a hard time visualizing in a way that creates meaningful feelings.  It sometimes feels like an exercise rather than an experience.

Last night was different.

Here’s how it went down.

Like the float tank, I felt it was best to create the experience in water to promote total relaxation. I mean, what’s more relaxing than a bath?  Also, by visualizing in the tub, I’m likely to extend the duration of the experience rather than sitting down for 15 minutes trying to meditate.

As the bath water ran, I decided to include various elements to further heighten the senses.  First I turned off the lights and lit a candle, but not just any candle.  I have a collection of pleasant-smelling candles, but only a few of them actually makes me feel good every time I inhale the scent.  If you try to recreate this mood, go for a candle that truly energizes you.  Another thing I did was to spray the shower walls with a diluted mixture of essential oils to further enhance the experience.

Next, I turned my focus towards creating the right auditory environment.  For this experience, I chose to play a collection of music that have the ability to stir up positive feelings from deep within.  We all have those songs that truly ignite sensations of joy and elation.  If you don’t have a playlist that creates that type of emotion, you may want to create one just for this.   The music was critical for me to fully immerse myself in the experience.  Don’t skip this step.

Adding a glass of wine doesn’t hurt.

Once the scene was set, I was able to fully relax and quickly begin to enjoy the process.  It felt unlike any other meditation I’ve ever experienced.  The images formulated in my mind quickly and easily.  They were greatly enhanced thanks to the stimulation of all the senses.  By the time the experience was completed, I was fully energized and ready to manifest all the visions I saw while in the bath.

I made a promise to myself that this would become a 2018 ritual.

This visualization process far exceeds the traditional methods without the added sensory experience.  There is no comparison. I know that traditional meditation promotes the removal of distractions that stimulate the senses, but this technique works well for visualizing desired outcomes in a powerful way that promotes intense feelings of having already experienced what you want.

Beyond the meditative benefits, I want my manifestation bath to produce wonderful beauty benefits as well.  The plan is to incorporate various beauty boosters that I can add to the bath to produce glowing/amazing skin.  Will discuss what I find in an upcoming article.

Try this experience for yourself and be amazed.